Taphouse Happy Hour in Seoul

Seoul is a bustling city full of culture and traditions – but one of the cultures that is thriving here right now, that you might not expect, is the taphouse culture. Quality brews are cropping up all over the place in Seoul as more and more locals in this international city take over the expat brewhouses and brewhouse culture and make them their own.

Most of the time when I travel, I try to immerse myself into local culture – and as I’ve traveled more and more, I’ve learned that doesn’t automatically mean eating authentic cuisine. When someone is visiting me in Hawaii, I don’t necessarily take them to a place that serves traditional Hawaiian dishes {although I may make you try poi at the luau, just to try it}. I take them where I like to eat. So this past trip, working in Yongsan-gu, I asked my local friends to take me where they liked to eat.

We visited a kalbi joint or two, but we also hit the increasingly popular Chimaek houses {fried chicken and beer bars}, pastry-filled brunch-spots, and a host of local brewpubs where they liked to go and chill out after work with a nice craft brew. And it was amazing to me – having learned over the years to turn my nose up at expat fare abroad and Itaewon in general – to see just how much this expat place had become international, and how things I’d previously ignored for not being authentic enough had become part of the multicultural landscape.

My friends in town thoroughly robbed me of my travel snobbery and taught me that instead of relying on guidebooks and research to tell me what was “authentic,” you don’t get much more authentic than following in the normal footsteps of people who live in and love the place you’re visiting.

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Hiking to Seoul Tower

If you’ve ever been to Seoul, you’ll know I’m not exaggerating when I say the city is humongous. The greater metropolitan area is home to 26 million people – half of the South Korean population – along with about 700,000 international residents, and spreads out over 230 square miles. But even though it’s a huge city, it’s still really easy to get around – and that doesn’t necessitate sitting in traffic! The metro and train systems are hugely efficient, probably some of the best in the world. And Seoul’s wide and well-lit sidewalks and safety patrols make Seoul an extremely walkable city.

I’m grateful for that, because when I’m traveling, my favorite way of getting around is by foot. I love hiking, and I kind of subscribe to the idea that if something is clearly in sight, I can walk to it. My sister lovingly refers to these as “Kristin’s Death Marches.” I prefer to think of it as “Gumping” – as in, I just felt like walking, so I’m going to go walk until I get where I’m going, wherever that is.

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The Frequent Flyer Revisited


A couple years ago {my God, have I been blogging here for that long now?} I wrote a post on dressing for travel. At the time, I was really focused on how to run through the airport, catch all your connections, and cram yourself into your seat to sleep away the flight.

As I’d hope after a couple years, my concept of travel has matured. I’ve still had to hurry between flights thanks to delays, I’ve still had to make the most of a standard middle-of-the-row coach seat on occasion, and I’ve gotten stuck at an airport a time or two. But I’ve gotten smarter about using my frequent flyer points, scheduling my flights, ensuring I get the seats I want with more room, taking advantage of membership amenities at the airport like lounges, and minimalist packing.

I’ve also upgraded my travel style a little bit. Here’s a look at the Frequent Flyer, revisited.

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ICRC 2015 and the Crisis Message Preference Model

The International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference held annually at the University of Central Florida is one of my favorite conferences to attend! It really is the go-to conference for crisis communications. There aren’t a lot of venues out there that bring together both academics and practitioners in an environment that fosters collaboration instead of competition, but ICRC sets up a great atmosphere to discuss current crisis issues and start work on future projects!

So naturally I was bummed as anything to not be able to attend this year – okay, I was in Bangladesh, so I wasn’t too bummed – but my research colleagues {including my sister Karen} attended and presented the work we’ve been doing on crisis communications. Along with Jim Satterfield and Karen Masullo from Firestorm Solutions, we’ve been working on the most important part of crisis communications – figuring out how to craft our information and messages in a way that answers our audiences questions and preferences.

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Sunday Currently, vol. 58

Clockwise from top left:

  • Selfies. Because date night. 
  • Enjoying the flora at the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens.
  • I don’t think there’s such a thing as a bad sunset in Hawaii.
  • Spring blossoms in Seoul, Korea – where I’m hanging out this weekend!

So, spoiler alert, I’m hanging out in Seoul for work for a few days! I absolutely love having a job that lets me travel – even if that means I’m working most of the time and not sight-seeing. But there’s a little bit of time here and there that I can grab to go out and poke around! I’m excited to see what I discover this time!

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Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Aloha, friends! It’s Friday, spring is springing out all over the place, and yours truly has nothing more important to do than pack a whole bunch of stuff into her backpack {my carry-on of choice} for some more international travel this weekend. This one’s just a short work trip, but there’s just something about being in the airport and around jets that I find absolutely exciting!

And yes, spring is actually springing in Hawaii, too. Even though it doesn’t seem like we have much in the way of variation, we still have a little in the way of seasonality. This time of year, it’s wonderfully nice and cool in the morning {I celebrate any day where we have anything approaching sweater weather}, we get sweet-smelling and refreshing rains blowing through in the afternoon, and all the things, which normally don’t seem to know whether to bloom or not, start blooming like crazy.

To celebrate, we picked up and headed out to Koko Crater Botanical Garden for a sunny spring hike to take in the blooms. Here’s a little of what we saw.

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Innovation at the Hawaii International Auto Show

I love auto shows.

That might sound contradictory, since I’m still celebrating that we’ve gone down to one car from two and regularly enforce no-drive days {we have restaurants, outlets, and lots of activity within easy walking distance from our house, so one day a weekend, we try not to drive anywhere}, but I really do love auto shows. And the Honolulu Convention Center hosted a great one this past weekend!

Because auto shows have some hidden innovative gems amidst the bland advertisements for this latest car with these latest gizmos. There are concept cars pioneering new sustainable high-tech ideas. There are restored old cars, making the old new again, and better. There are people who appreciate both form and function in the things around us, who are working to transform the industry into something far beyond just a box you sit in to commute.

Here’s a little of what I mean.

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Spring Cleaning: 30 Days to Less

Scott and I have been moving stuff around for a while in an effort to find all the tools we need for projects – namely our kitchen and his desk – and we’ve come to one, stark, horrifying conclusion.

Despite our efforts to get rid of all our stuff – from when we first combined two houses into one 1500 square foot house in New York with a basement to when we had to crunch that house and basement into one 1000 square foot townhouse in Hawaii – and despite all the stuff we’ve given away or recycled, we still, sadly, have a ton of stuff. And that’s all it is. Stuff.

And now all I want to do is get rid of more stuff!

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