Boldly Stepping Into The Future (Or Re-Applying for EPIK)

It has been an awfully long time since I posted on here. November, I believe, was the last time. When I left you last, I was undertaking my teacher training and stressed about work. Well, what has changed since then? Not a lot. I am still stressed. I am still in teacher training. But my future path may be different, dear reader. For I have made the decision to re-apply to go and teach in Korea with the EPIK Programme again. Those who read my sporadic blog posts will know that I miss Korea. I miss EFL. I miss basically everything about those glorious two years. So this should really come as no surprise.

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A Return to the World of Fantasy and Adventure

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Recently, dear reader, I have been in a bit of a funk. Overwhelmed by work, feeling like no matter how much I get done, there is always so much more than when I started. And this has been grinding on me. I’ve needed an escape, somewhere I can go or something I can do that is completely disconnected from the world which is causing me so much stress. And I have found it.

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The beginning of a new adventure!

I haven’t posted on here in a while. But, dear reader, I do apologise for this. For you see, I have been undertaking the beginning of a new adventure and it has kept me quite busy. Yes. I have finally begun my teacher training. And it is hard work. I feel as though I am constantly behind, needing to do something, not having enough time to do something or that I should be doing something else more productive than the productive thing that I am currently doing.

But I guess this is preparing me well for the busy life of a teacher. I’ll admit, I had it easy in Korea as a teacher. I didn’t have to do any marking. I didn’t really have to set any massive tests. I didn’t have to attend meetings. So seeing how it really works in the UK in comparison to teaching (ESL teaching, that is) in Korea has been interesting. I am five weeks into my course now and I have loved every minute. I have especially enjoyed the placement at my school. Being back in the classroom again is a great feeling, even if I was only observing most of the time.

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, I plan to keep you as updated as I can with my progress, the realities of taking a PGCE and my life in general as I learn over the next year. I have no doubts that the next 12 months will be among the toughest of my life. As I said above, I already feel like I don’t do enough, and we have only just started.

For anyone reading this and planning on taking a PGCE – it is really difficult. It starts out hard and gets even harder. I feel that, in order to do my work, I have recently been neglecting my general health, friends, girlfriend and wellbeing. That isn’t a good thing. So my solution is to try and take some time for me every weekend because otherwise I am going to burn myself out and that won’t be productive for anyone.

But also know that a PGCE course is a lot of fun too. I have loved learning different teaching methods and classroom activities to use (and even tried a few out with my class that I solo teach at the moment). It is fantastically rewarding to put the time into planning a lesson and having it go well. In fact, it is fantastically rewarding in general.

Taking this course has also made me realise something else – I miss ESL as a career. I think I have mentioned before that I didn’t think I was finished with it and now I know that I am not. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to go and do some ESL teaching. But that adventure will have to wait, for these lesssons aren’t going to plan themselves.

Until next time, dear reader.

Ricky

A Day In The Life – Big Decisions

Thinking about the future can be pretty scary. For every decision that we make, there are a thousand “What if” questions that can crop up. What if I had done this or that differently? What if I hadn’t said that, or gone there? This is as true for travel as it is anything else. My life changed dramatically when I said “What if I do apply to EPIK?”, which (if you are a regular reader) you will know I did back in 2013.

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Looking Back – Walking Around Cheongju

Various Shots of Cheongju, Autumn 2014

The War and Peace Revival Show (Or Nazis…Nazis Everywhere)

Last Wednesday, I had the unique experience of attending the War and Peace Revival Show. Held at Folkstone racecourse every year around this time, it is a complete ‘celebration of military vehicles and vintage lifestyle’. This year, it spanned from the 19th July until the 23rd and attracted people from far and wide (both traders and attendees alike).

But many of you may be asking the question “What is the War and Peace Revival Show and why should I care that you went there?” Well, dear reader, let me tell you. First, I should really explain what it is. Put simply, it is a fantastic collection of military memorabilia and reenactors/living history enthusiasts. It is (I believe) the largest show of its kind in Europe. You can pretty much find anything there, from First World War bayonets to Nazi Living History enthusiasts. You can see a range of events over the course of the show and enjoy live music (though the music is obviously a bit old fashioned for some people).

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An overview of the Living History section. It went on and on.

I ended up attending this year alongside my best friend and his Dad, who invited me along knowing my absolute love of history. They attend as collectors of military memorabilia, whilst I went with more of an eye for the reenactment side of things. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy looking around the different stalls and merchandise they offered. I even purchased a few bits myself (a very stylish Hawaiian shirt and a new watch strap for my Timex). We spent many a happy hour following my friend’s Dad, who seemed to know the show like the back of his hand. He himself saw a few items that took his interest and would return to check them out on the other days that he attended. I could only attend the one day, however.

Once we had done looking at the sales stalls, we went to my favourite bit – the living history section of the show, where all the reenactment takes place. Though we didn’t have much time there, I took a few pictures of some American and German reenactors. That is to say, they were the countries they were portraying. Below are the shots I managed to get on my phone, as I annoyingly forgot to take my camera with me.

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Overall, I would heartily suggest this event to anyone with even a passing interest in history or military things or vintage lifestyles. What you can’t find here isn’t worth finding. The ticket for the day was £18 and it has great transport links so you can even get there if you don’t have a car (although for those buying anything big, a car/van is a must)!

Check out the website for the War and Peace Revival Show for more information and pictures.

Until next time, dear reader.

Ricky

My (Updated) Bucket List

Two years ago, I published my bucket list (see here). My post for today is an updated version of it. I will colour any new additions to my list so they stand out and it is up to you guys to see if I have crossed any more stuff off (I hope I have).
Without keeping you waiting any longer, below is my list:
Europe
 
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Sleep in glass igloo, Finland.
  • Run with the bulls, Spain
  • Backpack over Europe
  • See a show at the Globe Theatre, London
  • Visit Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Celebrate St. Patricks Day, Ireland.
  • Visit the Guinness Factory, Ireland.
  • Live in Paris, France
  • Visit the Eiffel Tower, France
  • Visit Versailles, France
  • Eat French Food in France
  • Tour the South of France
  • Eat tapas in Spain
  • Visit my Grandfather in Portugal.
  • Visit Madrid, Spain
  • Visit Venice, Italy
  • Visit Rome, Italy
  • Visit Colloseum, Italy
  • Live in Italy
  • Rent a mountain villa, Italy
  • Visit Pompeii
  • Visit Vatican City
  • Visit Greece; see everything.
  • Eat actual Greek food in Athens
  • Visit Istanbul, Turkey
  • Have a Turkish Wet Shave, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Eat Turkish Food, Istanbul
  • Visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark
  • See the fjords of Norway
  • Visit Iceland
  • Visit Greenland
  • Attend tulip festival, Netherlands
  • Visit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Visit WW1 sites in Belgium
  • Visit Ypres
  • Eat actual Belgian chocolate
  • Live in Sweden (or other Nordic country)
  • Visit Vienna, Austria
  • Visit Berlin, Germany
  • Live in Berlin, Germany
  • Celebrate Oktoberfest, Germany
  • Visit German Christmas Market
  • Visit Prague, Czech Republic
  • Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
  • Visit Moscow, Russia
  • Visit Budapest, Hungary.

 

Africa
 
  • Visit the Great Rift Valley, Kenya
  • Go on safari, Serengeti, Tanzania
  • Visit the Pyramids, Egypt,
  • Visit Valley of the Kings, Egypt
  • Visit Luxor, Egypt
  • See the Ramesseum, Egypt.
  • Visit the Aswan Damn, Egypt
  • Take a cruise down the Nile, Egypt.
  • Visit Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Asia
 
  • Tour Hong Kong
  • Tour Beijing, China
  • Visit Great Wall, China
  • Visit Forbidden City, China
  • Visit Mud Festival, South Korea
  • Go to Korea Burn, South Korea
  • Visit Ullengdo, South Korea
  • Visit Dokdo, South Korea
  • See Cherry Blossoms, Korea
  • Hike a mountain, Korea
  • Visit Penis Park, South Korea
  • Attend K-Pop Concert at least once.
  • See DMZ, South Korea
  • Go on North Korean Tour.
  • Visit Tokyo, Japan
  • Visit Kyoto, Japan
  • Visit Japanese Sex Shop
  • Find used underwear vending machine, Japan
  • Eat Japanese food in Japan.
  • Visit Okinawa, Japan
  • Visit Hiroshima, Japan
  • See cherry blossoms, Japan
  • Do temple stay, South Korea
  • Do temple stay, Nepal
  • Hike the Himalayas.
  • Climb Mount Fuji.
  • Celebrate colour festival, India
  • Visit India (Various cities)
  • Visit Japanese Comic Con
  • Visit Mongolia.
  • Eat Mongolian food, Mongolia

 

South East Asia
 
  • Visit Bali, Indonesia
  • Visit Thailand
  • Ride an elephant, Thailand.
  • Eat street food, Thailand
  • Relax with a tiger, Thailand
  • Visit Cambodia
  • Visit the Killing Fields
  • Visit Siam Reap
  • Visit Sihanoukville
  • Visit S-21 (Tuol Sleng)
  • Visit Laos. Trek.
  • Celebrate the Water Festival in one of the above countries.
  • Travel across Vietnam by motorcycle
  • Eat Vietnamese food in Vietnam.
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Visit Hanoi
  • Live in Vietnam
  • Live in Thailand
  • Visit the Philippines.
  • Volunteer at an orangutan sanctuary, Indonesia.
  • Visit Malaysia
  • Visit Singapore
  • Visit Myanmar Republic

 

Oceania
 
  • Do LOTR Tour, NZ
  • Visit NZ.
  • Visit Wellington, NZ
  • Visit Christchurch, NZ
  • Visit Auckland, NZ
  • See Kiwi Bird, NZ
  • Visit family in Sydney, Aus.
  • See the Opera House, Sydney.
  • See kangaroos, Aus.
  • See a wallaby, Aus.
  • BBQ on the beach, Aus.
  • Explore the Australian Outback.
  • Visit Melbourne, Aus.
  • Go to Steampunk Festival, Melbourne.
  • Scuba dive, Australia.
  • Scuba dive, Great Barrier Reef.
  • Visit Tasmania.
  • Work on a NZ sheep farm for a summer.
  • Move to Australia
  • Live in Melbourne

 

Antarctica
 
  • Visit Antarctica
  • See penguins in the wild
  • Visit the South Pole
  • Boat around icebergs.

 

South America
 
  • Backpack South America
  • See a wild llama.
  • Take a selfie with said llama.
  • Visit Ecuador.
  • Visit Macchu Picchu, Peru. Selfie with another llama.
  • Boat the Amazon, Brazil
  • Trek the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil.
  • Experience a festival in Brazil.
  • Visit Chile.
  • Bike through Argentina (Motorcycle Diaries style).
  • Visit Peru

 

North America
 
  • Road trip across America
  • Road trip across Canada
  • See Rocky Mountains, Canada
  • See Niagara Falls
  • Visit Newfoundland.
  • Dogsled in Canada
  • Visit Toronto
  • Visit Vancouver.
  • Visit Montreal.
  • Visit Ottowa.
  • Experience the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • See Montreal Rocky Horror for Halloween
  • Visit all US States
  • Visit Atlanta, Georgia
  • Visit Austin, Texas. Attend music festival.
  • Visit NYC at Christmas
  • Visit Statue of Liberty.
  • See Times Square.
  • Go to Empire State Building.
  • Visit Detroit, Birthplace of Soul music.
  • Eat Southern Food, New Orleans.
  • Visit Disney World, Florida
  • Visit Seaworld, Florida
  • Experience Burning Man
  • Visit San Diego Zoo.
  • Visit L.A.
  • Chill on a beach, Hawaii
  • See volcanoes, Hawaii
  • See Aztec ruins, Mexico
  • Eat authentic Mexican food, Mexico
  • Attend Festival of the Dead, Mexico
  • Eat Mexican street food.

 

Central America
 
  • Visit Havana, Cuba
  • Stay in Cuban Resort
  • Visit the Panama Canal, Panama
  • Visit Costa-Rica
  • Visit Colombia
  • Attend Mardi Gras, Trinidad.
  • Visit Jamaica. Eat food.

 

Life
 
  • Become bilingual.
  • Become trilingual.
  • Live in another country for at least 12 months
  • Teach myself to play the guitar again.
  • Be in a band.
  • Have a book of poetry published.
  • Write more poetry
  • Write for fun.
  • Learn to drive.
  • Get a motorcycle.
  • Get at least one tattoo.
  • Dive with sharks
  • Write travel articles whilst travelling.
  • Get a BA.
  • Get an MA
  • Get a PhD
  • Qualify as a Teacher
  • Get CELTA Certified
  • Lecture at University.
  • Volunteer at Orangutan Sanctuary, anywhere.
  • Go on archaeological dig. Put my degree to use.
  • Go on paleontological dig and fulfil childhood dream.
  • Visit Las Vegas. Go to Casino. Cry.
  • Go to SDCC.
  • Go to any Comic Con
  • Surf
  • Snowboard
  • Ski
  • Ice Skate
  • Teach English Abroad
  • Live in at least 5 countries for a minimum of six months.
  • Write a song. Have someone perform it.
  • Visit every continent.
  • Get better at photography.
  • Have a photo published somewhere.
  • Try craft beer from every US State.
  • Try a craft beer from every UK County.
  • Start to exercise regularly. (In Progress)