The Wanderlust Project is an addictive read, mostly because its author, Sheryll, is such a personable writer with an awesome eye for photography. Sheryll has been blogging about her travels for around two years, and has recently taken a Korean twist with her website after moving to Yongin, slightly south of Seoul about 4 months ago. We had the pleasure of meeting up with Sheryll recently and she showed us the European-style café street in Jukjeon (new favourite area of Gyeonggi province, go check it out) where we ate yummy Mexican food and had a chat about blogging, travelling and her obsession with Korean cosmetics.
First of all, why did you start a blog?
I started a blog because I wanted to talk about my experience going through a quarter-life crisis. I did a Google search at the time and I found out that a lot of people had written about it but no one had a blog about being 24 or 25 and going through what all of my friends and a vast majority of people my age have gone through. I started it as a way to vent my frustrations and it kind of took off from there. I didn’t expect people to read it at all, but then people were emailing me telling me they were in the same situation.
Your first blog post touches on the depression you were feeling at that time in your life. Did you find that writing a blog helped you to get over this?
It’s weird because I go back and sometimes I read my blog from the beginning and I think ‘who was that person?’ I went through a really dark phase: I was really depressed and emotionally eating. I gained a lot of weight and I just felt like nothing was ever going to change. Starting a blog held me accountable. If I wrote about my passion to travel then people reading it would expect me to do it. Not that I had to answer to these people, but it helped me keep my goals in line. I wrote about all these travel plans and if I had just said them to my friends I don’t think I ever would have quit my job and just gone.
Tell us about your travels?
After I quit my job, my boyfriend and I were going to take a trip. We were all about going to South East Asia; we wanted to go to Thailand because it’s super cheap. Then we were going to go to South America because we were going to go to Argentina. One day, I was looking at flights and I saw a one-way flight to London from LA for $300. I told my boyfriend and he said, ‘Ok, we’re going to Europe!’. It was the most split-second decision ever. If anyone has read my blog from the beginning, they would know that I was all about going to Argentina. I wanted to go to Buenos Aires for a few months because it seems like a really cool place.
Do you think that travelling has changed you?
Travel definitely changed me because the whole time I was there I kept thinking about how I had really quit my job, how I was having NYE in Paris by the Eiffel Tower and how I never thought I would be in a situation where I was in Rome eating gelato. I was in Europe for three months. It was really expensive but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Where was your favourite place?
Easily Paris. Paris is my favourite city in the world that I’ve been to so far. I still think about it every day. I’ve been to Paris once before and I fell in love with it the first time, but when I went back all I could think about was how much I loved it and how it was so beautiful. People say that French people are rude but I never encountered that. The people are beautiful, the language is beautiful – Paris is amazing. I wish I could go back. Barcelona was also very surprising. The vibe was just so laid back. It reminds me of LA. It’s beachy and more bohemian whereas Paris is a little more upscale. Barcelona is more gritty. I feel like I wasn’t there long enough.
What’s next on your travel list?
South East Asia. I feel like if you come to Korea and don’t go to South East Asia you’re kind of crazy. I wanted to go for the summer vacation but you have to have six months on your ARC card to go to China. My boyfriend and I have to go there this summer otherwise it will be too late.
Which is your favourite blog post so far?
I think my photo essays are the ones that I’m most proud of, specifically my A Day in Paris post. I was really proud of that post because to me it captured everything about Paris that I loved, but without it being so clichéd. I feel like for one brief moment with that post – not that I’m a photographer by any means and not that I’m trying to claim I’m one – I’d joined the ranks of people who have cool travel photography on their blog.
And now you’ve made it from Europe to Korea. What’s the best thing about living here?
I love how safe it is here. I can walk around at night or at 2 in the morning and not be harassed. Which is nice because you can’t do that in LA. I also really love the cosmetics here. I think Korea has the beauty market on lock. It makes sense because Korea was the first place to have BB cream and now it’s this huge thing; big American brands like Smashbox and L’Oreal are all making BB cream now. I think people underestimate Korean products. I feel like they’re cheaper and 10 times better than American products.
Can you recommend a product?
I love the Skin Food ‘Black Sugar Skin Foaming Scrub’. It’s amazing.
Finally, your Twitter byline tells us that you teach your students “how to appropriately use the term ‘hot mess’.” What would you say is a hot mess in Korea?
I was in the grocery store one day waiting to pay for two bottles of water. An ajumma came in front of me and set her stuff on the counter. That’s a hot mess! That’s terrible. I got my stuff and put it in front of hers. She gave me the death stare.
Also, this weather right now is a hot mess. This humidity is a hot mess!
Interview by Loren Cotter
Images courtesy of Sheryll from The Wanderlust Project.