General, Travel

Easy Camping in Korea for Non-Campers

[2020 Update: Due to coronavirus precautions, camps mentioned in this post might have imposed some reservation restrictions, so double-check that you can successfully reserve on your desired date. Also, due to coronavirus, the utensils and bedding supplies offered for full-option camping are currently not available. That said, since the social distancing level was lowered to 1 as of Oct. 10, 2020, the above policies may have been modified. Email the Korea National Park Service at for specifics!]

Hey, ladies! Long time no talk! If you followed my blog earlier this year, you might be wondering: “Where has she been?” What had happened was …

I got a new job and moved!

Back in February, I snagged a long-dreamed-of job as a university professor, and I relocated from Paju, north of Seoul, to central Korea. [2020 Update: I’ve actually switched jobs a couple times, got married and now live in Seoul — more on that in another post, ‘kay?]

So that’s where I’ve been — now let’s gab about the topic you came here for: easy camping in Korea!

Have you ever wanted to take in Korea’s amazing mountain scenery from the very heart of the hills? Do you see friends’ camping and glamping Instas and feel a grip of FOMO? Do youuuu want to try camping in Korea yourself?

But are you also lazy AF and/or don’t own any actual camping equipment because that’s not how your life is set up? I’m here to help you, friend!

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Living Abroad

2 Real Helps For 2 (Random) Obstacles in Korea

Ohhh, readers! I’m so sad to have been away from this blog — and youuu — for so damn long! There’s a reason, and I’ll get into it in another post soon (hint: I relocated within Korea!), but I really wanted to share something with you before I look up one day and realize, damn, this year is half over, and I haven’t blogged!

Trust, this something that I’m sharing isn’t the most valuable thing I’ve ever unleashed here, buuuut, I know it’ll be a help to a lot of you nonetheless, and it was a great, quick-and-dirty way to bang out an easy post! Killin’ a couple birds with one stone, y’all.

Anyway, the two random problems this story is addressing — they’re hella unrelated — involve food delivery and noraebang/karaoke-ing, easily two of my favorite things here. Read on!

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General, Inspiration

5 Fun Things To Do in This Bitter Korean Winter

Hello again, dear readers! I’m back with some tips and tricks to liven up your (probably already pretty lively) Korea life. This time, I’d like to tackle something we’re surely all dealing with to some extent this month — THE COLD.

5 Ways To Enjoy Life During This Bitter Korean Winter |

Y’all. I opened with “y’all” to remind you my butt is from the Southern United States, but, Y’ALL — it is cold in these damn streets! I’ve been here since August 2016, and if you recall last winter, it was not as cold as all this mess we’re dealing with. I mean, in January, I went on a ski trip, and it was way warmer than this very day. I’m looking at a 10-day forecast right now that includes a day of 17F/-9C for the high. The high!! What is life right now, people, and when did Korea fall into the Arctic circle?!

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Food, General

How To Staycation in Seoul Like a Boss!

With December almost here, many of us will have some days off scattered through the next few weeks. Squeeee! Between that and the upcoming holidays, the time is ripe to treat yourself especially well. And THAT (to me) means planning an epic staycation, and I recently had a helluva staycation in Seoul.

The staycation itinerary I’m about to share is one I enjoyed over the long Chuseok break last month, and it includes all of my very favorite things: cool lodging, tasty restaurants, biking through Seoul and happening upon fun places and activities. Best part is, this plan can suit a party of one for some much-needed me time and rejuvenation or be shared with your friends for a staycation partayyyy. Do one activity or do ’em all. Grab some tea, coffee or hot cocoa, and take some notes — here’s how to staycation like a boss!

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Fitness + Beauty, General

3 Reasons You Need Aquafield Spa In Your Life

I love writing a piece that gives you an inside scoop into something fun I’ve done, so I’m super-loving this moment! This past weekend, I again indulged in an activity (pretty much becoming a hobby at this point) that I want to clue you in on: visiting an upscale jjimjilbang (uniquely Korean-style bath house) that I like to call my Fancy Spa.

“Fancy Spa” is actually called Aquafield, and I discovered it on one of the Facebook groups I’m a member of. There are a couple locations, all located within Starfield malls, which I also call Fancy Mall for its elegance, gorgeous design and clean aesthetic.

Anyhoo, the first Aquafield I visited was wayyyy down the Gyeongui-Jungang line — a direct, no-transfer-needed route from my home — in Hanam. Downside was, it took a 2.5-hour trek to get there. Upside was: Fancy Spa is AHHHMAZING!! I became instantly obsessed and enamored.

So imagine my delight when a new Starfield Mall opened this August in northern Gyeonggi-do, only an hour from my home. The heavens surely shined down some blessings on me. I was delighted!

I paid a visit on Sunday, ready for a day of deeeep rest and relaxation; meditation even. And I got it. But what makes Fancy Spa so great? Why, I’m glad you asked …

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Fitness + Beauty, General

Adopt My New Obsession: Biking Along Seoul’s Han River

You ever have those days where you really need to do one huge task, but it’s so huge, that to feel a sense of accomplishment you do a similar, smaller task? This, readers, is one of those days. Soon, very soon, I’m going to regale you with a looong post on how to have an epic Seoul staycation as I did during Chuseok, but I really wanted to publish something this week, so I’m going with this shorter, though just as joyfully meaningful and informative story as the staycation post.

Easy Bike Rides on the Han River in Seoul |

Indulge me as I tell you all about my new source of bliss when I’m in Seoul: renting a city bike and riding it along the Han River’s amazing paved paths. Read on …

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General, Living Abroad

5 Ways South Korea Is So Advanced + Convenient … Yet Frustratingly Behind

I adore living in the ROK … so much so that I’ve recently decided to re-up my contract at my English academy and teach here for another year. Yippee and yahoo!! Honestly, I see myself as a long-term dweller, because I like it here so much, and I’ve had a blast. So now that I’ve expressed my love and adoration for SK, I hope you won’t take this double-edged sword of a blog post the wrong way.

But, let’s talk, South Korea. You and me. Step into my office …

For all the ways you as a country are advanced — as well as considered advanced the world over — I’m afraid to say you’re a little behind the curve in ways that make me want to tear out what little hair I have. I mean … sometimes I’m about ready to pluck my leg hairs one by one. Ha!

So I wanted to let it all out — my frustrations on these five aspects in which you, South Korea, are/are seen as ahead of the curve and convenient, but, on the flip side, also woefully behind. Here I go, separating the hype from the reality …

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General, Inspiration, Travel

5 Reasons Travel In Your 40s Is So Rewarding

Let’s face it: Travel is incredible at any age. The wonder, the discovery, the delight at the sights, smells and tastes of a new or well-loved destination can be universal for young and old. But in my humble opinion, your travel experiences can improve with your age as much as you do!

Why Travel in Your 40s Is So Fantastic! |

Armed with a better sense of yourself, your likes and dislikes as well as the general world wisdom that comes with age, you up your chances of always having the best time every time you travel. Here’re five ways travel feels super-rewarding in your 40s! (I’m sure these can also apply to savvy millennials on up, but these are just my takes from my perch in life!)

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Fitness + Beauty, General, Inspiration

How I Lost 40 Pounds in Korea … and Stay Healthy

Greetings, fam! As I’ve written before, part of why I moved to the ROK was to see if I could succeed after uprooting and hurling myself half across the planet in my 40s. I expected and was totally open to some big, ol’ positive changes in my life — I mean, who wouldn’t?

How I Lost 40 Pounds in Korea! |

That said, probably my biggest transformation while living in South Korea has been losing loads of weight: Since landing here in August 2016, I’ve lost 40 pounds or 18 kg. Can I just say …

Amaziiiing! It feels incredible …

Friends, coworkers and family alike have been astounded by my weight loss, but, between you and me, I had a feeling I’d drop some lbs just from the diet change I’d encounter here. Buuuuut, I’m still amazed at how easily the inches fell off … and keep falling off. But enough toasting to myself — I want to share what’s worked for me. Check out my before and after photo, too!

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Travel Video: A Visit to The Beach in Samcheok, Korea!

I’m so jazzed/scared to present my first travel video here at Fleur De Libre! Last month, I took a group tour to Samcheok, Korea, a city in the easterly province of Gangwon-do. What a blast! I didn’t know how much I’d missed waves, sand and sun, and the East Sea didn’t disappoint. This is the first part of my trip there, chronicling my waterfront exploits; in a future video, I’ll show you the adventure from another part of the trip: exploring one of Korea’s grandest (and coldest!) caves!

For now, enjoy this vid. Boy, it’s crude — I was getting used to fiddling around with features in Windows Movie Maker! But I hope you sit back, vibe to the music and get a smile from my seaside jaunt!