Hi. I’m a Korean-American adoptee but I always thought I was just American. Until I went abroad.
I started this blog to document my first travels abroad upon graduating university in 2010. My best friend and I took a backpack and gallivanted around Thailand before I went to Korea solo, the first time being back since I was sent to America as an infant. That summer sparked a deep yearning for me to return to Korea and attempt to understand all of the confusion I experienced.
In 2012, I reunited with my birth family. We didn’t know anything about each other for 24 years until I got an important letter. It turns out my birth family wanted to find me, too. So, I went to Korea and met them. It’s more complicated than that.
People express interest in my story and luckily, I am pretty open about it. It isn’t always easy being an adoptee, let alone in Korea. So I want to use this as a platform to safely share my experiences.
From 2012-2015, I taught English in Gwangju, South Korea for three years and loved it. When I wasn’t in school, I was working on passion projects and my many hobbies/personal development challenges! Living in Korea taught me quite a lot and I’m sharing with you what it’s like to teach in Korea and the daily life there.
Meaningful Travel on a Budget
Since September 2015, my boyfriend, Adam, and I have been traveling slowly in India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. We seek to immerse ourselves with the local community through CouchSurfing, volunteering in exchange for accommodation, and housesitting. We’re rich in experiences but still maintaining a $15 a day budget. I have a whole bunch of tips on how you can also travel full-time in Asia while paying less than rent in most U.S. cities alone! Yes, we even manage to spend less than $20 average per day while traveling in Australia!
We’re currently working on a new website to share travel stories and real conversations with real humans on important issues. The project is in its infancy now, but you can check it out: AdamAndLianne.com.
Since February 2018, Adam and I have been serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Northern Zambia. Our primary project is rural aquaculture promotion, but we also do secondary projects in HIV/AIDS and malaria education, gender, conservation agriculture, agroforestry, nutrition, youth clubs, and more. We have had generally positive experiences so far and would happy to speak with future Peace Corps volunteers. In the meantime, check out my Peace Corps-related posts.
As of March 21, 2020, Adam and I have closed our service early due to the coronavirus pandemic. All 7,300 Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide were evacuated. However, we were approved to extend a third year and still plan to reinstate when that becomes possible, but it is uncertain when that will happen.
When I first started to travel, I moved quickly, jumping from one hot spot to the next. My pace slowed considerably; now, I prefer to stay for longer in one spot to delve deeper into the culture. I strive to reduce waste as much as possible in addition to avoiding flights, bicycling, and taking public transportation. From volunteering on organic farms and permaculture properties via HelpX as well as having land to cultivate as a current Peace Corps volunteer, I have become passionate about growing and preserving food, protecting and nourishing the soil, capturing rainwater, and using only solar energy. My future dream is to cultivate a small community in a food forest and hold educational workshops while hosting travelers and volunteers. For now, I am traveling around in search of the perfect location for that, but haven’t been sold on any place yet. If anyone is also interested in such a lifestyle, feel free to contact me!
Another important aspect of responsible travel is respecting local people and their cultures. Living in a rural Zambian village made me hyper aware of my privilege and I try to avoid exploiting people’s images and stories. At the same time, it is important to share the truth and not perpetuate the idea that Africans are all living in poverty and that the West must “save” them. I am always keeping this in mind and continue to strike a balance between reflecting the truth while respecting people’s stories.
This blog had different names over the past few years, but I ultimately decided that my name is most suitable. This is not a travel blog giving you “The Best 10 Beach Destinations in The World” kind of information. I hope to connect with readers from human to human.
Where have I been?
Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, India, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Zambia, and Malawi. More to come! My travels over the past 7 years have been slow and intentional. I am not trying to get as many stamps on my passport as possible — rather, I prefer to stay in one place for longer, quality explorations of the local area.
Where am I now? Sheltering in place in New Jersey, USA as of March 2020.
Keeping up with writing articles can be challenging while on the road. I want to record and provide up-to-date information, but also want to remain present without using my electronic devices. One of the easiest ways to help jog my memory and document my travels is by capturing one second every day. I began making videos with the One Second Everyday app in 2014 and haven’t looked back. I have recorded one second of every single day since 2014. I cannot begin to describe how meaningful such a simple tool has been to me. First of all, it makes me appreciate every moment. Which second will I choose to represent the 86,400 of today? No matter how mundane or exciting, the moment I chose is what was representative of that day as it was. Each moment is unfiltered beauty. I occasionally look back at these videos to reminisce. If you are interested in watching these short videos (30 seconds – one minute) with captions briefly describing the month and appropriate links for your information, check them out here!