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  • AG 9:51 pm on February 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    CHB: Culture, Hair, and Body 

    Going with the theme of being a tourist in my own city I went to the Chinese New Year parade in Chicago’s Chinatown last weekend. I decided to bring my sister and niece in an effort to expose my niece to a little culture. The dragons scared her a little bit, but all in all it was a nice free event and fun way to kick off the Lunar New Year. I can’t wait to get back there for some good food!

    I ended up having a total of five adventures in the month of January. The next two were unplanned. Not that adventures need to be planned or anything. I find that most of the time I realize I was adventuring in hindsight. Anyway, I decided to change my ‘do and go for the “ombre” look: dark roots faded to lighter bottoms. It did NOT work for me. I went from a reddish brown to orange to yellow to dark brown…in the course of two weeks. Not good. As a result of my whimsical behavior I did a little damage to my hair by processing it so much. But now I know. I should not be blond.

    And lastly, to round out January I started the Body Rock TV 30 day challenge (there’s a website for those of you who are curious). I’m currently on day 3, and I can say that it is not easy. It is definitely not easy. I have been practicing yoga for almost two years, and I love it. I haven’t found a form of exercise that I can stick to religiously other than yoga. However, I need to lose weight. While yoga has definitely made me stronger and toned me up a bit, I’m looking to slim down. And the only way that can be done is crazy cardio. Body Rock is pretty crazy to say the least. Hopefully I will come to love it as much as yoga, and mostly I’m aiming for more physical results. I’ll update when it comes to day 30.

  • AG 10:04 am on January 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    On Being A Tourist 

    I’m really good at being a tourist. I have traveled in groups. I have traveled alone. It is easy to adventure abroad. Many people are afraid to travel solo, but as I found on my most recent trip to Italy, traveling alone is easier and more productive than in a group. By productive, I mean that you can venture to wherever, whenever and meet people more easily than when you are in a group. When you’re in a group, you are kind of closed off to others or give off a vibe that you are less approachable (than if you were alone).

    Ok that was a slight tangent, and my point really is that for some reason it’s easy to find adventure in an unfamiliar place. My second adventure involved the whole “being a tourist in your own city”. It’s funny that I’ve seen more of Seoul than my hometown of Chicago. I even know directions and the subway better in there than I do here. We easily take for granted familiar surroundings and don’t always take advantage of the things our own city has to offer. So last week in an attempt to do something touristy, I went to the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium with my sister and nieces. We went on a “free” day, and lucky for this gal on a budget, they have about ten of these per month. I got to see some marine life and learn about some stars. It was a nice little something out of the ordinary!

    • Kimberly Hula 5:08 pm on January 19, 2012 Permalink

      I think I may just try to see some more of Boston after reading this! Excellent, fiscally responsible, fun and informative adventure!

    • Jeana 6:00 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink

      I really apaecripte free, succinct, reliable data like this.

    • price cialis 5:15 am on September 24, 2014 Permalink

      Now I feel stupid. That’s cleared it up for me

  • AG 4:03 pm on January 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , quitting smoking   

    1: Calling It Quits 

    I’m pleased that the Year of 52 Adventures is back. I was living in Korea the first time around, and it seemed that a life of adventure was more easily attainable there. I think the challenge for me will be to invent new adventures for myself back in my hometown rather than just finding them right under my nose; something that seemed to happen often while living abroad. I’d like to think that being a wanderlust adventurer is in my nature. So we shall see!

    Adventure #1: Quit smoking
    Really I tried doing this so many times. I tried cutting down, nicotine gum, e-cigarette, self-hypnosis…nothing worked. I wasn’t ready, so each time resulted in failure. Maybe it was turning 30, a new-found yoga regimen, or the sky high cigarette prices in Chicago, but January 2, 2012 was different than any other days I tried to quit smoking. I just knew it was time, and I was ready for this life-altering change. I had my last cigarette on 1/2/12 at 2 PM. I have a tracking app on my phone, and it has been 1 week, 1 day, and 36 minutes since I quit, and I have saved $54.89 (as well as my life). I am using the Blu e-cigarette for when I have cravings. Each day gets a lot easier, and though this may seem like a minor accomplishment to some, it has given me the confidence to tackle future adventures.

    • Kimberly Hula 4:16 pm on January 10, 2012 Permalink

      Welcome back Andrea! And this is a HUGE accomplishment. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say Congrats and that you are a week 1 inspiration!

    • Andrea Gargano 4:35 pm on January 10, 2012 Permalink

      Thanks!! I’m glad I’m able to share it here!

    • Berton 12:12 am on January 11, 2012 Permalink

      One day at a time, this goal can easily be reached! Just look towards reaching the end of the day, and every day, you will succeed!

    • Andrea Gargano 9:52 am on January 11, 2012 Permalink

      Thanks for the support and advice!!

    • wip78 7:01 pm on January 12, 2012 Permalink

      Awesome!!! Congratulations. I agree with Berton…one day at a time. Soooo proud of you!!!

    • sixofclubs 10:09 pm on January 12, 2012 Permalink

      I have had you linked since a few weeks after the last post on your blog and followed acts of kindness loosely. I will watch with anticipation and participate where I can.

    • sixofclubs 10:10 pm on January 12, 2012 Permalink

      And – quitting smoking sucks, but it is worth it in the end. Promise 🙂

    • Andrea Gargano 10:27 am on January 19, 2012 Permalink

      Thanks! I’ve made it past the 2 week mark! (17 days)

  • AG 8:57 pm on December 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Adventure #27: Moved back to Korea 

    Before I left Korea, I had resigned from my job. I had stayed beyond my one year contract for an extra three months, thinking that this would be ample to time to get my fill of Korea. But two weeks short of leaving the country I took back my resignation and asked my employer if I could come back. I was so sad, nearly devastated, about leaving this place that I couldn’t imagine leaving for good. I feel a connection to this country. Teaching for 15 months here was not enough. So I came back! Ironically the day I flew in was the day that North Korea fired at South Korea. I was in the air when it happened. For the first week that I was back here, I seriously freaked out. I wasn’t sure what was really going on. I was getting calls and e-mails from concerned family in the U.S., who are getting their information from a very distorted media. After consulting with some coworkers in Korea, I’m content and confident that the South Korea has a very specific exit plan for Americans should things escalate. It seems that North Korea has backed down, and things have settled down here.

    Now that I’m back and have settled in, I know that I made the right decision coming back here. I feel being here is a crucial part of my journey of self-discovery. I feel more like myself in Korea than I do in the U.S. if that makes any sense at all. A quote from the Nanny Diaries comes to mind: “You must immerse yourself in an unfamiliar world in order to truly understand your own.”

    • Paul 8:36 am on January 1, 2011 Permalink

      Hi I liked your adventure 27 – good on you for believing in your adventure – I only spent a short 4 months in Korea a couple of years ago but I so much appreciate your attraction to a society so invigorating to be exposed to = theres a fine Australian film line which makes a bit of sense (especially about adventures) “everything begins and ends at exactly the right place and time” The North have poked their chest out enough so now they will feel content to go back to the status quo… keep safe P

    • Anonymous 10:38 pm on January 1, 2011 Permalink

      Thank you!! I like that quote. What is the name of the film?

    • Andrea 10:39 pm on January 1, 2011 Permalink

      Thank you!! I like that quote. What is the name of the film?

    • Arterargy 9:31 pm on April 1, 2011 Permalink

      Content usurp me to create collection

    • Stretch 3:27 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink

      Fell out of bed feeling down. This has brignhteed my day!

  • AG 9:44 pm on November 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Adventures #25 & 26 

    I took piano lessons as a child from about the age of 7 to 11 years. I still know how to read music, and for a long time, I have wanted to get back into it. I find that anything that involves working with my hands from drawing to sewing is very therapeutic for me as for many others. So since I am in Chicago visiting and staying at my parents’ house where there is a piano, I decided to print out the sheet music for Pachelbel’s Canon. It only took me about two days to grasp it, and I almost have it memorized! The next song I’d like to tackle is Yiruma’s A River Flows In You. Apparently it is featured in the Twilight movie, but I first learned of this song in my yoga class in Korea. I have plans to purchase a keyboard upon my arrival back in Seoul (only a few weeks away) and hopefully I will have this song down by then.


    Since I’ve been back in Chicago, to put it bluntly, I’ve been very bored. So aside from joining a gym to keep myself busy, I wanted to recreate some of the meals that I had experienced throughout my travels in Asia. So tonight I made some Thai curry chicken with coconut milk. It was a favorite of mine in Cambodia. I’m pleased to report that my dish came out similarly to the Cambodian one!


  • AG 1:43 am on September 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Adventure #24: First time on a motorcycle! 

    While in Siem Reap, Cambodia, our Tuk Tuk driver planned everything for us, which was great! We didn’t have to think for ourselves, which is always nice when you’re traveling. (haha) So one of his suggestions was to go see a floating village, where all of the houses are built in the water. We concurred. So as we get closer to the destination, our driver informs us that we will need to ride motorcycles to get close to the water where our boat was awaiting us. I had never ridden on a motorcycle before and was a little anxious at the thought of it. But I figure, when in Cambodia…The idea of my first experience on a motorcycle ever while being in Cambodia made me laugh a little to myself. So without much hesitation and overthinking, I found myself mounting the back of a motorcycle with a small Cambodian man as my driver. He was a good driver, but there were many potholes on the dirt road so we were swirving a lot. But there were a few moments where I was able to let go and let myself enjoy the scenery of the green fields of grass and clear blue sky. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this experience, but I will surely never forget it!

    • adventurechaser 5:39 pm on September 27, 2010 Permalink

      YAY for you! I’ll never forget my first ride. It inspired me to get my motorcycle license. I’ve only ridden a handful of times since – that was…. ’em, uh, well, more than 10 years ago (really, I’m not THAT old – am I?). The freedom of the open road – nothing like it.

  • AG 5:54 am on September 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 23/52   

    Adventure #23: Hiked Another Mountain! 

    Adventure #23: I found myself on a mountain…again!

    I said I’d never do it again, but I did it! I hiked up a mountain today in what felt like a trek through the Cambodian jungle! (haha) The hike to the top to see beautiful waterfalls was stunning!


  • AG 5:53 am on September 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 22/52   

    Adventure #22: Angkor Wat 

    I made it to Cambodia a couple of days ago via bus from Bangkok. Crossing the border was an adventure in and of itself, but Angkor Wat was worth the trip!


  • AG 9:26 am on September 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Adventures #22: The Great Wall of China 

    I started out my month long travels through Asia in Beijing. I was determined to walk on the Great Wall, and despite the scary chairlift up to the wall, I made it!


    • yearof52adventures 1:26 pm on September 13, 2010 Permalink

      This looks incredible! I’m in awe of your nomadic lifestyle!

    • eatveggiesdrinkwine 9:53 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink

      I love this picture. Thanks for letting us adventure/travel vicariously through you.

  • AG 11:17 pm on August 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 19/52, 20/52, 21/52   

    Adventures #19, #20 and #21: Solo trip, DMZ, 3rd Tunnel 

    Since I’ve been in Korea, one of the things on my must-see list has been to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which is the border dividing North Korea from South Korea. It is the most secure border in the world!

    The first adventure of this trip was to go it alone. I’ve done trips here with travel groups, but I’ve always gone along with friends. For one, it’s more fun to go to explore with friends. And two, there a certain amount of anxiety that comes with traveling with strangers. So, I signed up for the trip, and I went alone. I was with a huge group, and it was liberating to go on a trip without waiting for other people to decide to join. Many of my friends had no interest in seeing the DMZ or had already gone. And some expressed interest but were too slow to respond to my request. So I decided to just go because it was something that I really felt I needed to do. My grandfather had fought in the Korean War, and the outcome of that war was the truce and separation for the north and south.


    The second adventure was visiting the DMZ. I saw the Doraksan Observatory and was able to actually see
    North Korea. I saw the propaganda village, which was built by North Korea to fool people and South Korean
    soliders into thinking that North Korea is a great place. It is no longer a fake village because North Korean soldiers’ families live there now. We were not allowed to take pictures past a photo line of North Korea. But I got a great view through the binoculars.


    The third adventure was going into the 3rd tunnel. There are 4 tunnels that have been discovered between North and South Korea. They were built by North Koreans in order to make surprise attacks against South Korea. I had much anxiety about entering the tunnel as I am claustraphobic. But I did it! And it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. There were many parts where I had to duck and walk hunchbacked throughout, but
    it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I wasn’t able to take pictures inside.

    • adventurechaser 5:31 pm on August 10, 2010 Permalink

      This is on my Bucket List. Thanks for sharing!

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