Sara Naparstek

Sara Naparstek graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2010, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology. Mere months after her entry into the real world, she boarded a plane bound for South Korea, where she had secured an English teaching position in a very (VERY) rural area. This was the beginning of her lifelong dream of world travel, as she went to other places within Korea, Japan, China and later, Israel. She hopes, whatever she accomplishes in life, to get to see as much of the world as possible, and to learn about the people in it. Sara enjoys reading and writing, (though not at the same time since distraction while using a pen can get dangerous). Her enthusiasm and method in playing soccer are eerily matched by that of a puppy’s chasing a small rubber ball. However, her genetic inheritance of the potentially life-threatening and incurable Spaz Syndrome (as discovered by Richard Spaz) makes this a risky endeavor; her last game culminated in her first trip to a Korean hospital. Her love of dance makes her seek out the impetus to encourage her peers in other countries to do the same (for example, in Korea, this means drinking lots and LOTS of soju). Sara’s passion for music sometimes transcends cultural barriers, as well as the understandings of friends and family alike. Thus, she will on occasion be caught singing songs in a foreign language, regardless of whether or not she actually knows the lyrics, or speaks the language. Her kryptonite is cute fluffy animals. Should an arch-nemesis decide to cruelly unleash a herd of adorably fluffy puppies, her ADD would kick in and Sara would be reduced to an immobilized, baby-talking pile of goo. The same could be accomplished by emailing her endearing animal-based internet memes.

Author's posts

Jan 06

Galapagos Trip: Days 2 and 3 (Miami and Ecuador)

This is the second in the series of Sara’s trip to the Galapagos. Planning and Day 1 (Newark and Miami) Days 2 and 3 (Miami and Ecuador) More to come… Always the shutterbug, I simply took far too many pictures to upload them all. See a sampling below, or the whole shebang on facebook My …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/galapagos-miami-and-ecuador/

Aug 08

Galapagos Trip: Planning and Day 1 (Newark and Miami)

This is the first in the series of Sara’s trip to the Galapagos. Planning and Day 1 (Newark and Miami) Days 2 and 3 (Miami and Ecuador) More to come… I booked a flight with my old college roommate, Cathy, to the Galapagos Islands to visit a friend we knew in college. We used kayak.com …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/galapagos-trip-planning-and-day-1/

Aug 02

Use your Smarts (Phone)

I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods Store a couple of weeks ago. Apparently there was a 50% off sale on, among other things, wetsuits. I was a bit dubious thinking, “But half off of what price?”. Turns out they were $70-80 originally (about average, maybe a bit above). Awesome! Then I got worried that they …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/use-your-smarts-phone/

Aug 02

I’m leaving on a jet plane–to the Galapagos

I wanted to write this MUCH earlier but work has been hectic.  My college roommate and I decided to go on a trip to the Galapagos, both to take in the sights and to visit an old friend from college.  So here is my projected list of things to bring on this trip.  Any last …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/im-leaving-on-a-jet-plane-to-the-galapagos/

Aug 01

Anatomy of a counterfeit 100 yuan bill

There are likely many types of counterfeit 100 yuan notes. There are, however, a few things to look for that should give you an idea of what to look for on a legitimate bank note. First, let me start with pictures of the front and back of a legitimate 100 yuan bill. Note the placement …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/anatomy-of-a-counterfeit-100-yuan-bill/

Jul 23

Update on Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC): It still sucks

I had given up on getting through to ICBC. When I was still living in Korea, I had tried handling the matter at an ICBC branch in Seoul. For newer readers, the matter I’m referring to is my having withdrawn 300 yuan, at the time about $45, from an ICBC ATM in Beijing. This money, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/china-2-icbc/

Dec 18

Top Tips on a Trip to China: Tip #3- Do not trust local invitations to a tea house

This happened on the same day as the counterfeit currency fiasco I indicated before. I had been wandering around Beijing in the winter. My local Beijing friend, exhausted from our harrowing trip to Xi’an the day before, had gone home for a nap, leaving me on my own. We agreed to meet some three hours …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/top-tips-on-a-trip-to-china-tip-3-do-not-trust-local-invitations-to-a-tea-house/

Nov 30

Top Tips on a Trip to China Tip #2- Research Credit and ATM fees

Tip #2: Research your credit cards and banks for useful benefits, such as no (or reduced) foreign transaction or ATM fees. For example, ATM’s under the Global ATM Alliance will charge Bank America customers only 1% (instead of 1% + $5). Before I’d left for China, I checked the international information on my credit and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/china-2-card-fees/

Nov 23

Top Tips on a Trip to China: Tip #1- If possible, get your visa while in your home country.

Chinese Flag

For most people, this probably sounds obvious. However, if you are traveling through Asia and decide to go to China at the last minute, or are an expatriate (a person currently living outside of their home country), you will be in for a little bit of heartache. If you want to so much as leave …

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/china-tip-1-visa/

Nov 12

Dental Health = Mental Health (Dentistry in Korea)

Flag of South Korea

I went online but all I found were phone number, listings and forum testimonials oscillating between “Oh man, this guy is really great I highly recommend him”, and “People, I beg you, do not go to (the person that I had just seen being recommended), he’s TERRIBLE.” Some people said that a good deal of dentists in Seoul trained in the U.S. or Canada so they’re pretty much just as good as back home. Others said Korean dentists tend not to be good and to go to Thailand.  I didn’t know what to do or where to begin looking.

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Permanent link to this article: https://freetravelgenius.com/dentistry-in-korea/