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Colorado Saram in Ubud, Bali on a rice field trek.

Colorado Saram (콜로라도 사람)

Korean translation: “Colorado Person”

About Me: Travel Experience

“Write what you know.” – Mark Twain

Throughout most of my life, the Colorado lifestyle has defined me. Growing up in a ski town, I was a competitive ski racer, and post-university, I embraced the ski bum lifestyle back in my hometown.

Summers were spent hiking, fly-fishing, and savoring the Rocky Mountains, a testament to my deep-rooted connection to Colorado, which has been a part of me since my family’s early wagon train settlement in the region in the 1800s.

Throughout most of my life, the Colorado lifestyle has defined me. Growing up in a ski town, I was a competitive ski racer, and post-university, I embraced the ski bum lifestyle back in my hometown.

Summers were spent hiking, fly-fishing, and savoring the Rocky Mountains, a testament to my deep-rooted connection to Colorado, which has been a part of me since my family's early wagon train settlement in the region in the 1800s.

Being a Colorado mountain kid was simply my thing.

Being a Colorado mountain kid was simply my thing.

Ski Suits to Loin Cloths

However, a unique new thing entered my life at the age of seven when my father, a former Peace Corps volunteer, decided to relocate our family to the remote island chain where he had served—the Federated States of Micronesia in the South Pacific.

We’re talking about some real-life Swiss Family Robinson or Mosquito Coast type of stuff here. 

We’re talking about some real-life Swiss Family Robinson or Mosquito Coast type of stuff here.

If I had to play armchair psychologist with myself, I would attribute this rare experience as the catalyst for my enduring thirst for travel and adventure, which would take a deeper hold later in life.

My mother, a teacher, taught us our lessons for a few hours a day in our makeshift classroom on the island of Punlap, Micronesia.

My brother, sister and I being home-schooled in our little island home by our mother, who had been a teacher prior to having kids.

With local boys on Punlap Island, Micronesia.

That’s me with some island boys in front of an outrigger canoe. We brought the boy on the left (Lino) home to live with us for a year. He’s now grown, married and lives with his family in Hawaii.

That's me with some island boys in front of an outrigger canoe. We brought the boy on the left (Lino) home to live with us for a year. He's now grown, married and lives with his family in Hawaii.

If you’d like to read some great, in-depth accounts of my family’s Micronesia and Colorado adventures, my father wrote two great books. You can click and check them out here:

If you'd like to read some great, in-depth accounts of my family’s Micronesia and Colorado adventures, my father wrote two great books. You can click and check them out here:

My father's book, Don't Get Too Comfortable, highlights our family's Colorado history and adventures in Micronesia.
My father's second book, detailing family history and stories from the early days of Vail, Colorado.

Fish Out of Water

Upon returning home from the South Pacific to the mountains of Colorado with captivating tales to share with my classmates, life quickly resumed its normal course. In my teen years, a ski camp and tour of Norway reignited my interest in international travel.

I went to college in Minnesota—a decision to leave Colorado that I still find challenging to explain. Nonetheless, this journey introduced me to wonderful friends and provided the education that laid the foundation for pursuing my travel dreams.

I went to college in Minnesota—a decision to leave Colorado that I still find challenging to explain. Nonetheless, this journey introduced me to wonderful friends and provided the education that laid the foundation for pursuing my travel dreams.

After graduation, my first solo (or coupled, in this case) travel experience involved backpacking across Europe for six weeks with a girlfriend. Our adventures spanned Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, and even a ferry ride to Ireland. This was my first taste of the “backpacker life”, and would set the stage for later adventures.

After graduation, my first solo (or coupled, in this case) travel experience involved backpacking across Europe for six weeks with a girlfriend. Our adventures spanned Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, and even a ferry ride to Ireland. This was my first taste of the "backpacker life”, and would set the stage for later adventures.

No image is available due to being old.

Since this trip took place in 1999, there is no digital photo evidence. Perhaps, that’s for the best.

Since this trip took place in 1999, there is no digital photo evidence. Perhaps, that's for the best.

Following this journey, my girlfriend encouraged me to move to Minnesota and try to adapt to an adult urban lifestyle, complete with a job that I truly detested and a commute through rush hour traffic. I quickly realized that I didn’t fit the mold of the traditional Midwestern career path.

Following this journey, my girlfriend encouraged me to move to Minnesota and try to adapt to an adult urban lifestyle, complete with a job that I truly detested and a commute through rush hour traffic. I quickly realized that I didn't fit the mold of the traditional Midwestern career path.

I learned early on that I was not destined for the rat race and career path that most of my friends eagerly signed up for post-graduation.

Colorado: I'm Back!

As such, I returned to my hometown, Vail, Colorado, embracing the ski-bum lifestyle for a ski season while working at the famous Red Lion.

As such, I returned to my hometown, Vail, Colorado, embracing the ski-bum lifestyle for a ski season while working at the famous Red Lion.

As such, I returned to my hometown, Vail, Colorado, embracing the ski-bum lifestyle for a ski season while working at the famous Red Lion.

Eventually, I landed an entry-level PR job at a local agency and learned from some of the industry’s best at promoting mountain resorts and writing press materials. I’m still using many of those lessons today as I attempt to create this blog.

As I advanced in the company, my role primarily focused on summer PR for Vail, along with the opportunity to organize press trips to resorts like Telluride, Beaver Creek, Grand Targhee, and Big Sky Resort. In between, I coordinated large-scale media events in cities like New York City, Denver, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

As I advanced in the company, my role primarily focused on summer PR for Vail, along with the opportunity to organize press trips to resorts like Telluride, Beaver Creek, Grand Targhee, and Big Sky Resort. In between, I coordinated large-scale media events in cities like New York City, Denver, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

Our office was conveniently situated at the base of Vail Mountain, which allowed me to sneak in more than a few powder turns during work hours. Thankfully, my boss actually encouraged this behavior, as long as the work was still completed at a high level.

Another day at the office, seen here during a press trip in Colorado. 

Another day at the office, seen here during a press trip in Colorado.

Around-the-World

Despite working, in many respects, my “dream job,” a long dormant itch began to reemerge, and I felt the South Pacific and its spirit of adventure beckoning me to return. However, the Colorado spirit was still alive and well, so I set my sights on building a yearlong travel adventure around the concept of spending consecutive ski seasons going from Vail to Queenstown, New Zealand.

I put a plan in motion by securing a leave of absence from work, obtaining a working holiday visa for New Zealand, and purchasing an open-ended, multi-stop around-the-world ticket from a company called AirTreks.

The trip would entail one month of travel throughout Tahiti, Fiji, and the Cook Islands in the South Pacific before settling into a 6-month working holiday in Queenstown, New Zealand. Following New Zealand, I would spend roughly 6 weeks in Australia and another 2 months in South America.

Despite working, in many respects, my “dream job," a long dormant itch began to reemerge, and I felt the South Pacific and its spirit of adventure beckoning me to return. However, the Colorado spirit was still alive and well, so I set my sights on building a yearlong travel adventure around the concept of spending consecutive ski seasons going from Vail to Queenstown, New Zealand.

I put a plan in motion by securing a leave of absence from work, obtaining a working holiday visa for New Zealand, and purchasing an open-ended, multi-stop around-the-world ticket from a company called AirTreks.

The trip would entail one month of travel throughout Tahiti, Fiji, and the Cook Islands in the South Pacific before settling into a 6-month working holiday in Queenstown, New Zealand. Following New Zealand, I would spend roughly 6 weeks in Australia and another 2 months in South America.

The South Pacific

Moorea, Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti is known for it’s stunning beauty and posh honeymoon resorts. My friend and I stayed in a shack on the beach that gave me bed bugs, but you couldn’t beat the view!

Dive certification class on Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Dive certification class on Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The class entailed an introduction in a makeshift pool and several open-water dives in some of the clearest water imaginable.

Embracing the Bula spirit on Beachcomber Island, Fiji.

Beachcomer Island, Fiji

Island-hopping and enjoying the “Bula-spirit” of the Fijian people.

New Zealand ~ Working Holiday

On a working holiday visa, two ski patrolwomen rented me a room in their flat, I got a job waiting tables at a seafood restaurant, met some great friends and embraced the adventure activities that Queenstown is famous for.

Queenstown

During my stay on a working holiday visa, two Coronet Peak ski patrolwomen rented me a room in their flat, I got a job waiting tables at a seafood restaurant, met some great friends and embraced all of the adventure activities that make Queenstown a must-visit for adrenaline junky backpackers.

While living and working in New Zealand, I met a great group of friends and explored some of the South Island's best ski fields: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone.

South Island Ski Fields

During the 6 months that I lived and worked in Queenstown, I met a ragtag group of boarding enthusiastics from around the world and we explored the ski fields of the South Island – Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone.

Queenstown is ground zero for adventure activities. Bungy jumping, jet boating and sky diving are just a few of the adrenaline pumping activities that can be found in Queenstown.

Adventure Central

Queenstown is ground zero for adventure activities. Bungy jumping, jet boating and sky diving are just a few of the adrenaline pumping activities that can be found in Queenstown.

Backpacking Australia

Upon arriving in Sydney, I was welcomed by some local friends I had met as neighbors in Vail. The two girls had spent a working holiday in Vail, just as I had just done in Queenstown. Looking back, maybe they even gave me the idea! I would go on to spend nearly 3 months traveling the East Coast of Australia from Sydney (NSW) to Cairns and North Queensland.

Reuniting with "The Emmas"

Upon arriving in Sydney, I was welcomed by some local friends whom I had met as neighbors in Vail. The two girls had spent a working holiday in Vail, just as I had done in Queenstown, NZ. Looking back, maybe they even gave me the idea! I would go on to spend nearly 3 months traveling the East Coast of Australia from Sydney (NSW) to Cairns and North Queensland.

Forecasting my budget with months still to go on my RTW trip, I spent 4 weeks WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in Australia. Pictured here, working at a coffee farm in Mareeba, Queensland. I also spent two weeks doing general chores at a guest lodge just outside of Daintree Rainforest. Though I came across some stories of people who did not enjoy their host situations, my two experiences were among some of my most cherished memories from my time in Australia.

WWOOFing

Forecasting my budget with months still to go on my RTW trip, I spent 4 weeks WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in Australia. Pictured here, working at a coffee farm in Mareeba, Queensland. I also spent two weeks doing general chores at a guest lodge just outside of Daintree Rainforest. Though I came across some stories of people who did not enjoy their host situations, my two experiences were among some of my most cherished memories from my time in Australia.

I spent the Christmas holiday on a 3-day sailing tour of the Whitsunday Islands. During this tour, I was able to put my PADI dive certification (from the Cook Islands) to use and checked off a bucket list item: diving the Great Barrier Reef.

Sailing and Diving the Great Barrier Reef

I spent the Christmas holiday on a 3-day sailing tour of the Whitsunday Islands. During this tour, I was able to put my PADI dive certification (from the Cook Islands) to use and checked off a bucket list item: diving the Great Barrier Reef.

South America Adventures

Trekking to base camp of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America (22,837 feet). The start of the trek is near Mendoza, Argentina, which is also famous for its wine.

Base Camp Trek, Aconcagua Argentina

Trekking to base camp of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America (22,837 feet). The start of the trek is near Mendoza, Argentina, which is also famous for its wine.

You can climb to the top of Volcan Villarrica with cramp-on boots, an ice axe and special sliding pants that are provided to make the decent speedy and fun! It felt like a scene out of the movie "Alive".

Volcán Villarrica, Chile

You can climb to the top of Volcan Villarrica, an active volcano, with cramp-on boots, an ice axe and special sliding pants that are provided to make the decent speedy and fun! It felt like a scene out of the movie “Alive”.

On the multi-day "W Trek" in Parque National Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia.

Fulfilling a Dream in Patagonia

Growing up in Colorado, the brand Patagonia was ubiquitous with outdoor adventure. I fulfilled a childhood dream, not only by trekking “The W” in Parque National Torres del Paine, but also watching glaciers calve at Los Glaciares National Park and hiking outside of El Chaltén to view the iconic Mount Fitz Roy. 

Coming Soon:

Return to South America – Peru and Boliva

First Trip to Asia – Malaysian Borneo, Thailand and Myanmar

The Move to South Korea

Japan, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Bali/Indonesia and more. . .