Tag Archives: inspiration

Making An Impossible Challenge Possible

2 Apr

I have been so lazy with my blog so far this year and for that I truly apologize. Usually I write about the big goals I have set for myself then post regular updates on whether those goals have been successful or not.

For Lent this year, I vowed to give up my two biggest vices; Facebook and Alcohol. I decided not to post about this because I was sure, like every other year, that it would most likely be an epic fail and would be a bit embarrassing to admit defeat!

For anyone who knows me in person, you know how much of a party animal I can be. For the sake of my liver, my general health and maybe even my sanity, this needed to stop! As for Facebook, I realised I was totally addicted. I think most people I know are pretty addicted to Facebook, but I discovered that I really do post an obscene amount of times each day and it was wasting so much of my time. I de-activated my profile, un-installed the Facebook App from my phone and vowed to everyone who would listen that I would be staying off Facebook for the grand total of 47 days (None of that cheating on Sunday’s nonsense….I know my Dad would not let me get away with that!!)



As you may or may not have guessed, this particular challenge was nigh on impossible for me. I could list a million excuses as to why I could not stay away, many of them genuine and a few made up, but I will not go into details and instead will admit total defeat. In fact within 6 short days I had logged back on and posted the “Pharrell Williams – HAPPY – I am from Seoul” video which I filmed and edited. It seemed nothing could keep me from sharing the good stuff in life with friends and family. I was told off by some close friends and soon deactivated for another few days but FOMO (fear of missing out) settled in pretty bad and soon I found myself logging in again and decided this was one battle that, for the moment, I was not up for fighting. Facebook, for the time being, was staying out.

As for the other half of my lenten fast, I am delighted to say that I have, miraculously, stayed off alcohol for over 1 month now and have even decided to EXTEND this no-drinking extravaganza for another month. The hardest day of all was St Patrick’s Day, but once that hurdle was complete, the rest of the month was a breeze.

So what makes an impossible challenge (for me!) suddenly possible? How is this, Lent 2014, the first time in a decade that I have successfully managed to give up drinking? The answer to this question is one small little word. One word which changes everything. And that one word is….Running.

For the first time in about a decade I have seriously committed to getting in shape and am doing this by running. Every morning and every evening. Sometimes in the gym, sometimes around town. Up hills, along tracks, over bridges. Up stairs, down stairs, in stadiums, down motorways. For the past month I have committed 100% to running and it has been an incredible experience and one which I hope I will keep up for the foreseeable future. As part of this new found love, some friends and I signed up to a variety of 10km races all over Korea which have been great fun and these shorter races even led me to signing up to and completing my very first Half Marathon, an experience which I will write all about in my next post.

Here’s to another month of alcohol-free weekends full of fitness and fun!



Looking Back, Looking Forward

14 Jan

2013 flew by so fast I have hardly had time to sit time and sum it up. We are already nearly halfway through January 2014, I have barely had a chance to breath. Where did all those hours, days and weeks go?  What exactly happened and how far has 1 calendar year brought me? Or, as the truth may be, has it brought me anywhere new at all?! In this post I would like to do a quick review of “The Best of 2013″ and finish my setting out some goals for the year ahead.


“The Best of 2013 – A Review”

 A fun-filled trip to Lanzarote with my buddy Ollie climbing volcanos, singing Karaoke and spying on albino crabs in an underground cave.

Graduating with a Master of Science in Humanitarian Action! (Even though a missed the ceremony, my new boss ensured I didn’t “miss the photo op!”

Competed in the Run-A-Muck Challenge with Toby and Sergei in freezing cold temperatures, over ditches and bogs, through muddy rivers and stacked hay bales!

 Visiting HOPE projects in Kolkata, India and achieving one of my life goals to participate in Holi Festival of Colours with the kids from HOPE’s children’s homes.

Flying to Bali to meet up with a good friend and traveling with her the Gili Islands, by far my favourite islands in Asia so far.

Making great friends and stuffing my face with some of the most delicious food in the world while exploring Mainland Malaysia and the beautiful islands off the East coast.

Moving back to South Korea and somehow making my second year in this confusing but exciting country better than the first, making beautiful and loving friends at every corner (of every bar!).

Spending 5 days on the island of Jeju off the South Coast of Korea in September for Korean Thanksgiving. BEST. DECISION. EVER.

Booking a last minute weekend break to Japan in October and exploring the mystical city of Kyoto.

Spending the Christmas vacation with a group of close friends traveling around Cambodia, a country that now has a  a firm place in my heart. (Blog posts about this eye-opening trip coming soon!)


“2014 – What Lies Ahead”

I have made made personal goals for 2014, but in order to truly keep these “resolutions”, I know I must write them down and share them with others. That way, when I start slipping up, you can all remind me to get back on track!!

1. I will run a half marathon….before the end of March. 

2. If the first half marathon goes well, I must sign up to a second one.

3. I want to totally revamp this blog, but my own URL and post more regularly.

4. I will  start learning and speaking French again.

5. I will to go to 5 new countries.

6. I will travel home to Ireland….without flying.

7. I will get an article published in a Korean Magazine like Groove.

8. I will get an article published in The Irish Times, ‘Generation Emigration’ blog.

9. I will start getting back in contact with my friends back home and schedule regular skype dates.

10. I will finally reach my “ideal” weight. Not by your standards, or by some stupid magazine standards and certainly not my my dear mother’s standards. MY ideal weight, ideal for ME. 

Time to get my Bikini Body back!

20 Oct

I’m setting myself a 9 week challenge. Why 9 weeks? On Friday I booked flights to Cambodia, departing on Christmas day. That gives me exactly 9 weeks to shed about 7 kilos and have a body to be proud of by the time I head off on my next adventure. Actually I’m not so bothered about what I weigh, more so about how I look. I have said to myself on and of for months that I must stop drinking, I must join the gym, I must start eating better but have not tried once to actually do any of those things.

Now that I have a specific goal, and a date by which this goal must be achieved I’m hoping it will help me focus better. Even though I have been feeling under the weather lately, and I know I will be drinking again next weekend as I’m going on a week end trip to Busan Fireworks Festival with a group of 50 foreigners to celebrate Halloween I have decided that is no excuse to postpone this challenge yet another week. Tomorrow I am joining the gym next to the school I teach at and I’m going to MAKE myself go there 5 days a week. No excuses.

For me, my eating habits are what affect my weight the most. My mid week eating habits are nothing short of simply atrocious. I wake up late, skip breakfast and arrive at work at 12pm hungry, As we don’t get lunch at the school, everyday I debate with myself about what on earth I’m going to eat. The choices are limited to fried chicken from the nearby take-away, pastries or sandwiches from the bakery downstairs, Kimbap (rice and seaweed roll) form the Korean restaurant, Pizza or Pasta from Italian place upstairs or a random collection of tasteless noodles, a packet of crisps and whatever else I can find in the convenience store. Due to this awful choice of unhealthy foods I try my best to bring my lunch from home but could really do with interesting lunch ideas that are equally healthy and delicious. If anyone has any tips, please let me know!

Okay enough talking about what I’m GOING to do. Time to log off, go to sleep, and be fresh faced when I wake up so have time to EAT BREAKFAST, make lunch and….go to the gym!

Wish me luck!!

Back in 2005, when I had the confidence to wear a white bikini and still have a smile on my face.

Back in 2005, when I had the confidence to wear a white bikini and still have a smile on my face.

Dream it. Wish it. Do it.

24 May

I have been fairly abysmal in updating my blog over the last year, but truth be told I have been too busy enjoying life. Not a bad excuse really, now is it?!

I sat down last night, having just sold my beautiful car, and thought about the future, and what lay ahead. You see, I have recently quit my job, sold my car, booked flights to Bali and Malaysia and accepted a job in South Korea starting in July.

I wasn’t happy about where I was and the direction my life was going, so I decided to change it. I dreamed about travelling more, about teaching, about working with children again…I wished I could leave the office job behind and head off on another adventure. Then I did it. I actually did it.

Some may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one….

All of these big decisions and dreams for the future got me thinking about the year gone by and I realized that the last 10 months have been the busiest in my life thus far. Simply jam packed with work, with study, with travel and with spending quality time with friends and loved ones, 10 months seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye.

Working full time while writing a masters thesis, and keeping up my reputation (and love) of being a party girl while continuing to work towards my goal of visiting 50 countries before I’m 30 made for ONE BUSY YEAR!!

So, what kept me so busy you ask??

Well here is a recap, in numbers, of 10 months in the life of Janet - 

Jobs : 2

  1. Manager of Language in Group Summer School
  2. PR and Media Coordinator for The Hope Foundation
Being PR coordinator lead to me being photographed in lots of newspapers!

Being PR coordinator lead to me being photographed in lots of newspapers!

Continents traveled : 3,  Countries visited: 5

  1. Europe (Ireland, England, Netherlands and the Canary Islands -Spain)
  2. Asia (India)
  3. Africa (Kenya)
Some of the Turkana that I met while doing research in Kenya

Some of the Turkana that I met while doing research in Kenya

Road Trips within Ireland: 6

  1. Two great trips to Baltimore, West Cork
  2. Girly weekend in Galway
  3. Adventure weekend in Kerry
  4. Adventure weekend in Meath
  5. Two weekends of partying in Dublin
Adventure weekend in Kerry - amazing fun!

Adventure weekend in Kerry – amazing fun!

Masters Thesis Completed : 1

  1. Title: The impact that water and sanitation hygiene projects in schools can have on the comprehensive security of a community. A case study of the Turkana region of Northern Kenya.
The day I submitted my Masters Thesis.

The day I submitted my Masters Thesis.

Masters Degrees completed: 1

  1. Master of Science in Humanitarian Action. (Sadly I will miss my graduation, but I have been awarded a 2.1)

Amazing Friends made : Countless!!

Great times, with great friends!

Great times, with great friends!

Thank you to everyone who made the last year so special.

You will always be apart of my life.

Feel free to come visit me, wherever it is that I end up, and don’t be afraid to LIVE YOUR DREAMS. Xx

What is “Happiness”?

5 Mar

To me, it is uncontrollable, belly aching laughter with a friend. Pure happiness.

What does “happiness” mean to you?

Seconds before falling into the cold, Irish river!

Our Deepest Fear

27 Feb

Lately I have been catching up with some old friends, friends from school, from Uni or from all the small side tracks I have taken along the rocky road that is my life. It is an amazing feeling to see how successful, how grown up, how independent or how happy my friends are/have become.

Some are getting married and starting their own families while others are doing PhD’s in Biomedical Science or Applied Physics. Some are still roaming the world, content with nomadic life, jumping from country to country making friends the world over while many have stayed put in Ireland and are, in some cases, making their dreams come true. 

From designing iPhone Apps and synthetic wind pipes to performing live on National TV to getting ready to take on the high rolling mega economy of China, my friends are truly going from strength to strength. I would like to dedicate this blog post to you, my dear friends scattered around the world. Let it shine, be proud, and keep on inspiring those around you!

Let it shine!

Our Deepest Fear (As quoted by Nelson Mandela)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

The Korean Susan Boyle??

8 Jun

Just saw a video on YouTube that left me near to tears and felt I had to share. We have seen many talent shows, and as a result seen many inspiring groups and individuals come to into the limelight. From Paul Potts to Susan Boyle and even that cute little breakdancer George Sampson on Britain’s got Talent, the list goes on and on.

Here is a talented man with a difference. A man who has gone through so much even at the tender age off 20 (22 Korean age, 20 international age). Left in an orphanage at a baby, he ran away when he was just 5 years old after being beaten and ended up living life on the streets of Seoul for over 10 years, alone and scared. Can you imagine being homeless and alone and only FIVE years old? Sleeping in toilets or under stairs, selling gum by day to make ends meat.

Such a sad story, until said man,Sung Bong Choi, walks into a “Korea’s got Talent” audition and simply moves the judges to tears, not with his story but with his mesmerizing singing.

This video really touched me, let me know if it touched you too.

“Confucius says….”

5 Apr

I visited numerous temples in Taiwan, including a Confucius temple, which as a teacher I thought was a fitting place to visit, and was inspired more by a few minutes reading the varied “notes to confucius” then by anything I saw on the remainder of my trip. People asking for health and happiness, praying for loved ones struggling with their exams or studies, asking for strength in all that they do in school, in University and in life or simply wishing good luck onto others.

“Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated”

So in an effort to make this post simpler but still hopefully let readers get a small glimpse into my trip to Taipei, I am just going to post a few simple pictures that stand out in my mind and illustrate what make Taipei a special place. Enjoy. :)

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children. “

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step!”

“Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself. “

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

Walt Disney; My Idol

19 Feb

I no longer want to become an inspirational teacher, traveller and writer. I no longer want to venture back to Africa, where my heart belongs, to set up a school or orphanage or do any of the other things I outlined in THIS post.I have ,instead, decided to become a cartoonist. I would also like to become one the most successful business people in the world and set up the world’s most renowned Children’s characters and a theme park, or theme parks, that are cleverer, better run, better known and simply more “magical” than anywhere else.

Nah, just kidding. Walt Disney is now my Idol and my inspiration because it turns one of the quotes I have lived my life by, “If you dream it, you can do it”, comes from him. On top of that revelation I also recently found another captivating quote from Sir Walt;

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.

If that is not inspiring then nothing is. The man was a genius thus why I would love to follow in his footsteps and maybe someday inspire others. I plan on living my dream, slowly but surely, and only time will tell what I can achieve. Fo the time being I am going to enjoy every last-minute of my life here in Korea. I am going to stay positive and try my utmost to encourage and inspire the somewhat saddened and overworked children I currently teach.

As my idol once famously quoted;

“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children. We worry about what a child will become tomorrow yet we forget that he is someone today”.

Have you guys got any favorite quotes or personal Idols?


19 Oct

Randomly came across this promotional video of South Korea, encouraging people to come visit this often forgotten land, on YouTube. It makes me appreciate the country I’m presently living in and get excited at the prospects of spending some weekends exploring the wonderful countryside. It might just be the music..as it makes shivers run up my spine…in a good way!

A few friends and I are planning to climb Seoraksan the first weekend in November with Discover Korea, which is supposed to be spectacuarly beautiful. The trip also includes a few hours in natural hot springs and staying over night in mountain huts. I also just got a free ticket the Korean F1 happening in Mokpo this Sunday. Excitement. Life is good.


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