An #FF fiend and lover of foodporn fridays, today’s interviewee is the awesome Tom, otherwise known as @waegook_tom. He’s the fella you want to speak to if you’re at all interested in becoming an expat in Korea, maybe like Tom you want to go teach out there? Anyway, Tom looks to be coming towards the end of his time in Korea and now tells us about a few of his future travel plans that lie elsewhere. Take it away Tom …
1. Name: Tom Stockwell
2. Age: 25 (26 on August 13th)
3. Twitter Handle: @waegook_tom
4. URL: http://waegook-tom.com
5. Home Town: Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK
6. Current Location: Daejeon, South Korea
7. … Business or pleasure? Getting paid for business whilst experiencing pleasure? Meetings on a tropical island or laptop in a hammock with cocktails.
8. Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment. Best bits, worst bits etc.
I’m currently in my third year working as a teacher in South Korea and, after obliterating my evil, evil credit card debt, finally saving for my round the world trip in 2013. In the meantime, I’m taking as many trips around Korea as possible whilst trying to figure out where to go.
LET’S TALK TRAVEL
9. First travel experience?
My first travel experience abroad was when I was 10 years old, in year 6 at primary school. I went to a tiny village school, and there were just 11 of us in my year group. 9 of us went on a school trip to Belgium with a couple of teachers and the headmistress’ husband. We took a P&O ferry overnight and stayed for a few days in a small town called Blankenberg. We played football on the beach at midnight, cruised through the canals of Bruges, and ate a whole lot of croques monsieurs. We were asked to keep a travel journal, and mine was held up to the others as an example of what you should do. My first travel blog in a way!
My first non-foreign travel experience was when I used to sit on the stairs with my Nana Strawb at her house, and we’d pretend they were a flying carpet to somewhere in the world. We always went alphabetically and usually never made it past Albania.
10. Future travel plans?
As I’ve mentioned, round the world in 2013! I want to visit all the continents, minus Antarctica, before I’m 30. I’ve still yet to visit the Americas and Africa. I’m going to be going to the USA, Colombia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Lebanon, Turkey and Georgia for sure…Africa is where it’s all up in the air. I can’t figure out where to go.
11. If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
Japan. Japan has been torturing me throughout my three years in Korea – so near, yet so far! On my three jaunts on vacation from Korea, I’ve wound up in Malaysia, Australia and Taiwan, but not Japan. Flights there are surprisingly expensive! I may make it there finally in my winter vacation, after AirAsia Japan launches.
12. If you could avoid going anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
Antarctica. I left it out of my “continents before I’m 30” for a reason. I enjoy places with culture, not being stuck on a ship shivering and shelling out three thousand pounds for it. I love penguins but if I want to see them, I’ll stick to somewhere like Argentina or South Africa where I can watch them without worrying about frostbite.
If we’re talking about a place I’ve already been, then Gaziantep in Turkey. The place was an absolute shit heap and labelled as Turkey’s gastronomic capital but in my experience, it sold mediocre food at an inflated price and was nothing more than a too-hot hell hole devoid of ice pops. It could have had something to do with the fact that I was suffering a week long bout of explosive diarrhoea (TMI?), which I caught in Malatya, but hey, Malatya had ice-pops and dolphins.
13. What 5 items would you not go travelling without?
- Electric shaver,
- adorable blanket that my students in Daegu gave me,
- and a photo of my boyfriend.
… Stop dry heaving, back there!
14. Best bit of advice you’ve received?
Get up and go! No, not away from this post (please keep reading), I mean get up and go travel. If you’re feeling that urge where you want to go, if you’re not happy in your job and want to get out and see the world, then just get up and go. I was miserable at my call centre job in the UK and not long out of a 2 year plus relationship and stuck in a rut – getting drunk a few times a week, sleeping with beautiful men with names like Sergio, and lots of Indian food. OK, so that’s a pretty good rut to be in on reflection, but it’s not where I wanted to be at the time. I didn’t have the money to travel, so I looked into working abroad and now I’m here in Korea. So not happy? Get up and go!
Any piece of advice that says you have to travel a certain way. I’m not talking about things like being respectful of the local culture – that’s advice every traveller should follow. I mean advice that says you should only travel very slowly and spend at least a month in each country, or when someone says you “have” to do X, Y or Z. When it comes to travel, it’s YOUR trip. Do what YOU want to do.
16. Best bit of advice you can give readers of this piece?
Appreciate good cheese while you still can. If you’re travelling outside of Europe or North America, you’re really, really going to miss it. Savour every last bite of cheddar and brie, and don’t go easy on the pickle.
17. Favourite ice cream flavour? Anything involving praline.
18. Apple or Android? Apple for sure. My partner has converted me.
19. Blogger or WordPress? Blogger, but only because I’m a little bit scared of WordPress.
20. Hostel or hotel? Ooooh…depends! Sometimes I feel fancy and like a hotel, other times I really like the social atmosphere of a hostel. Based on my plans for next year, I’d come down on the hostel side of the fence.
21. Guilty pleasure? None of my pleasures make me feel guilt, although my love for K-Pop does occasionally raise some eyebrows. Try and listen to this 2NE1 song (below) and not admit its awesomeness. Oh and animal print clothing but I mean every guy likes that, right?
22. Your chosen super-power? Can’t I just go the whole way and be the new Storm from X-Men, but with Wolverine’s abs?
23. Airplane seat – isle, centre or window? Window! I always need somewhere to rest my head or just stare out of the window and say things to myself like, “ooh, is that Mongolia?”
24. What song/album are you listening to right now? Paloma Faith’s new album, Fall To Grace. Full of absolutely banging tunes. Blood, Sweet and Tears is incredible.
25. Thank you for answering my questions, as a gesture of thanks I allow you one whole paragraph to shameless plug of your website …
Waegook Tom follows the adventures of the fabulous and eponymous Tom, a teacher working in Korea and having plenty of adventures in the Land of the Morning Calm whilst saving up for his 2013 round the world trip that will finally take him around the world and realize the dreams of dorky little Tom who always had his head stuck in an atlas. There’s delicious foodporn every Friday, and a whole dollop of sarcasm thrown into the blender and splattered out onto the internet. Oh, and I’m also on the Facebook.
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