Esther JuLee and her husband, Jacob Fu, run Local Adventurer, which was recently named one of the top 5 travel blogs in the world. While some of us have been conditioned to think of “travel” as something inaccessible, exotic, or aspirational, Esther and Jacob take a very different approach that values curiosity, gratitude, and contentment. As their name suggests, they encourage finding “local adventures”. In fact, every year for 7 years, they moved to a new hometown to fully explore the region and uncover all the local gems for readers, all while also traveling internationally for their blog.
With that said, I may just be the only person who found Esther through her food blog, www.momskoreanrecipes.com. If you’re a regular listener, you know that last month I did a mother’s day series. While researching possible guests for the series, I found this food blog that Esther started both as a Covid project and in response to her grandmother’s death. As Esther says, although she was born in Korea, there is not much about her that remains Korean. She turned to her mother and food to reclaim some of that heritage.
As many of us are gearing up for travel this summer, I’m thrilled to have Esther on to share her story, a few travel tips, and also to think about some important topics related to food, identity, travel, and the intersection of all of these points: home. Esther’s story reminds us that everyone deserves their home country, hometown, and home culture to be a welcoming place, and just what we can do to ensure that.
Highlights of Ep. 075 with Esther JuLee of Local Adventurer
- How full-time travel bloggers experienced Covid to their job
- “I don’t feel there’s much that’s Korean about me” and how she turned to food to address that
- The real reason her parents her left Korea
- Feelings of shame/conflict about Korean food
- How Koreans perceived Esther
- The true definition of Kimchi (much wider than I realized)
- Pivoting: Chemistry -> Wedding Photography -> Travel Photography
- Division of labor for the blog with her husband, Jacob Fu
- Traveling as an Asian-American
- Experiences of racism at home vs. abroad
- The pressure to say certain things at certain times on social media
- “If you don’t carry gratitude or an adventurous spirit with you, you won’t be able to experience travel in that way.”
- Esther’s amazing advice for harmonious traveling with family or friends
Listen to Esther Now
Esther JuLee's Storied Recipe: Water Radish Kimchi
How to Find Esther JuLee and Jacob Fu of Local Adventurer
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Local Adventurer on Pinterest