Twitter, Dreamboats, and the Sport I Used to Love

Oh, another yawn-inducing year-end reflective post from a self-righteous blogger foolishly believing that the internet world actually cares about their resolution to drink more water in 2013?

Not quite.

As everyone on WordPress, Blogger, and those poor souls still hanging on to their outdated Angelfire account review their year in writing (and due to their consistent scheduling of posts, can rightfully brag about their increase in readership), I regale my plateauing stats and shameful admittance that I could barely (just barely) conjure up a single post approximately every other month.

Relishing in the fact that my mother and perhaps even a second cousin or two still read this site, it becomes all too tempting to ruminate over the last 365 days. And as a matter of consequence, I then search through my catalogue of long-term memories and pinpoint exactly what I was doing for a good 315 of them.

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The answer to which I am certain, includes absolutely nothing about the sport of hockey.

Way back in September 2012, the National Hockey League declared its fourth lockout in 20 years. This was due to financial buzz-words like revenue, salary caps, and peculation. (Yes, I realize this is a generous oversimplification to a rather complex blur of sports and business. But I’m pretty sure both my mom and cousin aren’t much of hockey fans. And it’s all about keeping the audience engaged, right?)

Now even if you don’t really care about the likes of Gary Bettman and Bill Daly (and the reasons to which I believe they’re both selfish jerks), I’m still willing to waste the word count.

Why?

Well, through a stretching analogy which really just involved the discovery of hockey players’ Twitter accounts, the NHL lockout sort of paralleled my last year as an expat.

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Here are a few highlights from the 2012 season:

For starters, way back in the summer, hockey players sort of expected to play hockey. And I, through complete fault of my own, sort of expected to be productive. Writing for Vagabundo Magazine, contributing to a couple of Seoul publications, volunteering with an organization based on the human rights of North Korean defectors. One would assume my output efforts would soar into the realm of implausible.

Instead, a concrete wall inevitably constructed itself. A proverbial partition of repetitive lesson plans, similar bars, and the constant disappointment in myself for failing (yet again) to properly communicate “I don’t eat meat” in Korean. Sure, at times I was industrious (or maybe I mean industrial?), but it hardly felt prolific.

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Disjointedly, this leads into the next topic of management, and the difficulties both myself and the big guns within the NHL experience in this field. A gleaming example of both follows.

At the end of 2011, almost fearless did something pretty ridiculous and spoke nonsense about this site being one of the best new travel blogs on the web. (Reiterating the idea that undeserved recognition is awesome because it acknowledges something you didn’t even think existed in the first place.) The point is, on top of search terms like ‘decisions not to make while hungover’, that mention drove a lot of traffic to this site.

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I could have taken that increase in readership seriously and wrote the most obvious of points about say, that beach in El Nido, Philippines being an all-out stunner. Instead, I talked about what makes a shitty travel partner. (Evidently, I’m extremely qualified for this position.) I didn’t manage this opportunity properly. It became a toothbrush miss.

It’s not so lonely in this realm of mismanagement, though. Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, has all kinds of difficulties managing his own personal interests and that of the league, often believing that they are one in the same. His financial irrationality means a continuous stream of missed opportunities for both the league and the players.

When it comes to blunders over mismanagement, Bettman and I have a lot in common. The only difference being a faint Filipino flip-flop tan.

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As the lockout closed in on month three, players started to realize that what they expected to be doing this year, was in fact far different from their actual daily activities. So the boys left town. They went back to their roots in the juniors, declared semi-permanent residency in places like Russia and Switzerland, or participated in small-town charity matches (inert games basically comparable to that of a scrimmage with your Dad’s Sunday afternoon beer league).

Without declaring permanency anywhere, I too left Seoul when results were less than straightforward. I visited six countries in 2012; one of which was new to me. Although still in its newness, I now have a gut-wrenching crush on Burma. I’m only assuming Rick Nash can say the same about Switzerland.

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And just recently, future plans changed for both myself and the NHL. In less than a week, the hockey season will start. In less than two months, the Peace Boat will start.

The Peace Boat is exactly what it sounds like…but better. Travelling to over 20 countries, a massive boat full of participants, volunteers, interpreters, and English teachers (me!) will promote positive social and political change on a worldwide scale. (I’m not exaggerating with the worldwide scale thing. The route literally circles the Earth.)

From Japan to Venezuela, I’ll have the opportunity to learn, teach, change, develop, and take part in a boatload (ha!) of other positive verbs.

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As is often the case in hockey, the NHL could not have written a better story, even if they tried.

And I, could not have dreamed of a better opportunity for curious (and contributing) travel, even if I wrote on a more consistent bi-monthly schedule in 2012.

And the players, now returning to hockey rinks across North America within the limitations of 140 characters, could not have tweeted a better ending.

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25 thoughts on “Twitter, Dreamboats, and the Sport I Used to Love

  1. Gahhh, congrats on the Peace Boat!!! I actually looked into that before coming out to Korea and realized that you need teaching experience (sheesh!) for that, which I now have, but alas, plans change. I’ll be circumnavigating, just not on a boat. But I can’t wait to read about your experiences there!

    • Thanks dude!

      The opportunity in and of itself seems pretty unreal. And the fact that I will be a part of it just seems like some sort of Bigfoot hoax. Expect a lot of boat humour.

      When are you (finally) going to spill the beans on your tentative route? I’m waiiiting!

    • Burma gave me an unbelievable Christmas. It’s a place which I feel incredibly lucky to have visited when I did.

      Granted, I’m definitely going to be one of those people in 5 years that is like, “Pfftt I developed a gut-wrenching crush on Burma before it was cool to develop a gut-wrenching crush on Burma…or even using the descriptor ‘gut-wrenching’ to imply something positive.”

  2. I have never heard of Peace Boat before! Sounds like an amazing adventure and I can’t wait to read about it – bi-monthly or maybe more often.
    Vagabundo Magazine sounds really interesting – maybe I’ll try and contribute?
    I’ve just been hired to write for Gypsy Generation Magazine, an online publication of which I am excited about.

    Happy new year to both of us!

  3. Congratulations Toothbrush! The route looks AMAHZING! And it looks like you will be going through both the Suez and the Panama Canal, very cool. Finland, Russia, Guatemala and Mexico aren’t too shabby either. Safe voyage, update when you can (we are still reading!), and hang readership numbers – if you write, they will come.

  4. Congrats! That sounds like an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to hear more about it.
    I have to agree with “mycookinglifebypatty” I’d definitely like to know more about your big fat crush on Burma.
    Good luck with the boat.

    Lauren

  5. I would much prefer you to be out living and experiencing your adventures rather than writing about them (although I do enjoy reading about them)… I get suspicious when travel bloggers are posting/tweeting/facebooking/instagramming too much – get off the computer and go experience what you left home to experience! (The only reason I’ve been surprisingly consistent posting lately is because I spend almost all my waking hours sitting in a tattoo shop…)

    Oh, and the Peace Boat sounds incredible…

    • To be honest, I don’t do much! That way, there is always the opportunity to travel.

      I’m kidding…sort of.

      I teach English in South Korea right now so I have this parking lot full of Asian countries to visit. I work for a year, save, travel during school breaks, and then take some time off to travel full-time. This will only be my second round of this cycle but it seems like an alright routine for me!

      • Hello Sarah, just found your blog, looks very interesting :)

        I’m a young type planning to leave home/see where the twisting path of life takes me. After finishing my undergrad degree I am thinking of doing the celta then looking for work in Korea.
        Anything you can share about your experience would be greatly appreciated… How did you get into teaching in South Korea? Any background in linguistcs/grammar (I have none!) etc? How did you find a job (dave’s esl forum?) How do you find it? Overall/any impressions?

        I’d love to read anthing you have to say about it..

        Cheers

      • Thanks for the words, Michael.

        Before coming to Korea, I did a quick TESOL course but as far as I know, not all jobs require this. The CELTA course would be advantageous but you can definitely find a job without these qualifications as well. My background is completely unrelated to teaching English to small Korean kidlets so again, don’t worry!

        I found my first job after scouring Dave’s ESL cafe for all of 30 minutes. I got hooked by an ad that promised mountains and surfing. It had neither of these. The second time around, I got a job through a friend I met travelling. A lot of people at my current school went through a recruiter and they seemed pretty happy with the arrangement.

        South Korea is tops. An all out riot. (If there is such thing as a ‘good’ riot…)

  6. Hi Sarah,

    Great wrap-up! I also want to follow your Peace Boat adventures. I have heard about the Peace Boat, and it sounds amazing, but I’m supposedly going into the Peace Corps (if the US gov ever wants to give me my placement.) I guess we both have a thing for “Peace” named organizations.

    Good luck and looking forward to hearing more!

  7. Sarah,

    Peace Boat sounds too good to be true. What adventures you’re going to have! I’m so jea… err.. glad you’re getting to do something like this. ;)

  8. Pingback: A Country of Parentheses: Visiting Myanmar (Burma) | where's my toothbrush?

  9. Great job weaving hockey, travel, and travel blogging all together and Good luck on the peace boat. Oh yeah, you think Rick Nash has that newness feeling about New York right about now?

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