This week’s guest post comes from Hannah, travel blogger behind Hannah, International. She explains ‘I have a passion for languages, having studied French and Spanish for over 10 years, German at a beginners level, and even teaching myself Korean. I’ve tried several other languages including Japanese, Mandarin and Greek, and who knows whether I might pick them back up again in the future! I like to be able to communicate with people with ease, and I feel a little lost in a country where I cannot speak the language. Aside from languages, I am an avid reader, enjoy singing, baking and cooking (and eating my wares!), and you will often find me watching (and crying at or obsessing over) Game of Thrones, a Korean drama series or the Great British Bake Off.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Hannah and I come from Northampton, England, however I’m currently living in Korea! I run Hannah, International, an expat lifestyle and travel blog which is currently focused on my life living and working in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I certainly don’t fit neatly into one traveller category, but if I had to describe myself I would say I am primarily an ‘expat traveller’ and secondarily a part-time traveller. I live abroad, but I travel around my new country and am planning to make some short trips to other countries nearby.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
Work! (Of course, Hannah, what a silly answer.) I am an English teacher for kindergarten and primary-aged children here in Seoul, and it’s what gets me around. I admire those people who make a living from their blog however, and would love to attempt that someday!
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
I’m so incredibly tempted to say Paris because I had the most amazing time when I lived there for six months, but I won’t. Instead I’m going to say Zaragoza, Spain. It is a beautiful city with lots of history and culture, and one of the best tapas scenes I’ve encountered in the whole of Spain. My top recommendations for anyone visiting Zaragoza are to go to el Parque grande – the best park I’ve ever been to – and to have dinner out in El tubo, an area of the city made up of narrow streets lined with tapas bars and restaurants. My favourite place is called “La Pilara”, named after the famous bell in the cathedral’s bell tower.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
It wasn’t a terrible place as such, rather a severely underwhelming experience that I had in Madrid, Spain. I went to watch the Christmas lights be switched on, but it was vastly disappointing. The weather was bad, the Plaza mayor was boring and nowhere near as good as I expected the capital city’s main square to be, and it didn’t feel like the city had much character. I actually wrote a blog post about it! Despite it being a letdown, though, I feel like I need to give it another chance.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
I don’t have a ‘life’ bucket list, but I do have a list of places I’d like to go to in the near future. I’ve got my sights set on Vietnam, particularly Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi, as well as Chiang Mai in Thailand, and also Laos. I’ve been a little fixated on going to Laos ever since I saw the Top Gear TV special on it, and I’m not ashamed (well, maybe a little) to say that!
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
Number one is, of course, my camera. I love taking photos of everything, including all my food – yes, I’m that person – so I can remember it all and look at it later…and post it on Instagram too! I’ll also always have some sort of curly hair mousse or spray with me, as well as a nail file. I feel awful whenever my nails or hair are bad, so I need things with me to combat that!
8. What makes you happy and why?
The sunshine makes me happy! And good food, and easy friendships. The other day I went to a park next to the Han River with some new friends. The sun was shining, my shoes were off and the conversation was so comfortable. Some of my happiest memories involve sitting outside on the grass in good weather with great friends and normally a bottle of something in my hand. I did this often during my time living in Paris – at the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower – and also in Zaragoza at that beautiful park I mentioned before.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I’ve been blogging for 3 and a half years! I started a couple of months into my second year at university, and I originally began Hannah, International as a way to record my language studies and the 3rd year abroad in my foreign languages degree at uni. I always liked the idea of having a blog, and had even started blogs several times during my teenage year but always deleted them after long. I thought Hannah, International might have been a phase too, but this time it stuck, and I’m so pleased it did.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
I’ve only recently moved to Seoul, so you can join in pretty early on my South Korea story and follow me as I work as a first-time ESL kindergarten teacher, and live as a British expat. I take an honest approach to all the places I visit, and create a travel series for each (sizeable) trip I take. I want to inform my audience on the locations I’ve been to, but also entertain with anecdotes and tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way…normally from making mistakes! If you want to hear a clumsy British woman blither on about Seoul, food, and a plethora of other things, Hannah, International is the blog for you.
From ESLT – thank you Hannah for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂