By Katie Lee

After three days in Korea, still suffering from jetlag, I was hopping on another plane. The plane was headed towards Jeju Island, a separate island offshore of mainland South Korea known for its bountiful nature, seafood, and the embodiment of a tropical getaway. The trip to this island was essentially a vacation within a vacation, and although I had my expectations of an ideal one, such as staying in a nice hotel and going to the beach, the trip itself certainly lived up to the height of my expectations but took the form of surprises.

Image for post
Image for post

The first and most troubling surprise was the language barrier. Quite frankly, I’m not the most fluent Korean speaker, however, I can communicate and understand — thanks to my Korean parents. Yet, here I was on this island surrounded by words that sounded familiar but were not being processed. As I was standing in front of a shopkeeper at a local marketplace, I stood frozen. It had felt like I had the last piece of a puzzle, and to my surprise, it didn’t quite fit. I kept jamming the pieces of knowledge of the language I thought I knew and days after, realized that I shouldn’t keep trying at a misfit piece, but start the puzzle over again. I stopped trying to make sense of a language I obviously could not understand and decided to view myself back at square one. Although it was a bit disappointing and quite frightening to be in a place with little means to communicate, it was the most refreshing and beautiful experience because I was able to witness the history and evolution of a community within this island. Korea, like most nations, has distinct dialects with the Jeju dialect, also known as Jejueo or Jejuean, referred to as “an unintelligible Korean dialect” and classified as its own language by the Korean government. This community may have originated from South Korea, but by no standards are they constrained by the language of their mainland. …

Image for post
Image for post
The streets of New York City decorated for Halloween.

By: Lourdes Garcia

As I walked downtown with my sister, we made sure to walk through Greenwich Village and say hello to Zohra, a giant white spider that descends on Jefferson Market every Halloween. Usually, she dangles over crowds of people dressed up and exhilarated to celebrate Halloween in New York City, but this year was different.

When Covid-19 spread around the world back in March, New York City received national attention after scathing articles stated that the city would never recover from the shutdown and migration. But now, the city has reopened with new guidelines that limit large gatherings. …

by: Kat Martin

This past October, I had the chance to visit one of my close friends in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Instead of dealing with the sequel of last semester’s Zoom university, she was participating in a co-op that was roughly 45 minutes out of Charlottesville. Staying home this semester made me miss college life, so I took a COVID test, waited for the negative results, then headed down for a weekend trip to visit my friend.

I didn’t really know what to expect with Charlottesville. I had been to northern Virginia but didn’t know too much about the western part of the state. I had friends who’d considered attending the University of Virginia, all of whom loved the town, but I was still somewhat skeptical of Charlottesville. I remembered the summer of 2017, when the ‘Unite the Right Rally’ devolved into a white supremacy march in downtown Charlottesville. Seeing clips of white men with torches march together was, and still is, terrifying to me. I also thought about Heather Hayer, a counter-protester who was run over and killed. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo credits to Julien Lanoo, Robert Harding, Z Klein, and Julien Tondu from

By Anna Canny

Bordeaux, France is the timeless, coastal European city of your dreams. It surrounds you in majesty, with castle-like buildings, the towering Cathédrale Saint-André, and the broad columns at the facade of the Grande Theatre. But look closely to find the clandestine key to the city, in the form of two thin metal tracks snaking over cobblestone, through grassy medians, and around the tight corners of narrow neighborhoods. Imagine sitting on the patio of a local cafe, enjoying the classic pastry pain du Chocolat along with un cafe au lait. …

By Ari Dubow

In a gas station in Bartlett, Nebraska, I bought a grilled cheese sandwich, hot from the warming oven and wrapped in flaccid aluminum foil. After five weeks on the road, I managed to quit hesitating with food like this. Someone asked me what I was doing, and I said I was biking across the continent, that I had enjoyed Nebraska so far, and was feeling good because I was about halfway done. I was deep into the Great Plains, and the feeling of middle-ness was freeing.

“Bartlett’s halfway between a lot of stuff,” the man said. Isn’t everything? …

Image for post
Image for post

By Zoe Hauser

The endless number of bridges connecting each of the 118 islands to the next, gondola rides, archways, canals; this is the city of Venice.

I’ve visited Venice twice, once at the age of ten and again at nineteen, each time traveling along the canals and beneath the bridges. My perspective changes, almost as though traveling hundreds of years back in time. The gondolier hums a traditional Veniese tune, waves to his fellow mates, and strategically navigates through the narrow passageways. There’s a difference looking up at a city rather than walking through it. …

by: Zoe Johnsen

The Kingdom of Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, is known for its rich history, geology, and picturesque seaside towns. Best of all, many of its villages are connected by the Fife Coastal Path, a 117-mile trail that meanders along ocean cliffs and through country fields. The trail is best completed in segments between towns, though you can also find daily bus routes for transportation. Here are some of the best stops along this stunning coast.


Start out in Crail, the northernmost town, sleepy even on a sunny weekend in August. Take in the harbor and the crystal-clear water, then head up through town along the cobblestone streets. As you pass quaint stone houses adorned with flowers and gardens, make sure to stop at the Crail Harbour Gallery and Tearoom for a quick scone and coffee. …

by Mariana Seibold

Image for post
Image for post

The air was cold and biting when my friends and I stepped out of the restaurant in Killarney, reminding us yet again that we were nearly into December. The sidewalk was oddly crowded with parents and young children for this late at night, but any further thought on the matter quickly left our minds as we saw the local candy shop. We popped in there for a bit, tasting and buying an assortment for ourselves and some to bring back home to our families. The owner of the store was a nice old man who gave wonderful advice and helped us, along with all of the younger patrons of the store. All of a sudden, the noise from the sidewalk seemed to swell and the children ran out, leaving their parents to hastily pay. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo Credit: Fiona Bishop

by: Kaitlyn Zhao

Beijing is a fascinating patchwork of a city, divided into specialized districts in an almost compartmentalized fashion. Neighborhoods have developed with distinctly different flavors, reflecting the demographics of the populations within them. Older Chinese, who have watched the rise and fall of their country through the world wars, the Cultural Revolution, and much more, see Beijing for its past of imperial splendor. A newer generation, younger and more cosmopolitan in scope, composed of world-wearied expats and Western-educated young elites, see the city for its future as an economic and technological powerhouse. …

by: Isa Arocha

Image for post
Image for post
The entrance to a secluded beach in Quercianella

After the problems with my passport finally subsided (not so funny story: it was expired and I had to leave the country to renew it, but couldn’t leave the country with an expired passport), my family decided it was time to venture out further than our usual trips from northern to southern California and organize our first visit to Europe. The planning process was strenuous as each of us tried to melt our ideas of the perfect adventure together, but looking back I could not be happier with how it played out. …

Guac Magazine Editors

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store