My tarot card reader says that I will create my life’s best work somewhere in East Asia. Call it confirmation bias, but I think she’s talking about Seoul.
I’ll preface by saying I spent five months in two developing countries prior to landing in Seoul, so I’m quite biased and jaded from nearly half a year of mosquito bites and shitty infrastructure. Also, I understand the country isn’t without criticism, from its political drama to its mad consumerism and its insane education and work cultures.
That said, I learned a lot from being alone and getting lost in South Korea. Busan, Gyeongju, and Seoul were lovely backdrops to the questions and contemplations in my mind, especially post-motherland. What impact do I want to create? How does Vietnam play into that? Should I have 떡볶이 again for lunch? What are my biggest dreams? How about my fears?
As I wandered, I gained empathy, confidence, and gratitude. I let go of control and surrendered to the journey. I appreciated the freedom to stray and discover, a freedom handed to me simply because I possessed a US passport. I found beauty in the unknown and the pain as I shed tears in the rain. By getting lost, I unearthed more of the world and myself.
Here, I collected my thoughts and my spirit. Ocean waves, fall leaves, and green forests have a knack for soothing the soul. Many wonderful moments, especially hanging out with 아줌마 Boonda.
I have mad appreciation for how South Korea has restored and maintained its historical relics. The juxtaposition between old and new is fascinating to me. I hope that Vietnam and Cambodia can experience something like this one day. But also, fall leaves and temples, dude.
Some say that Seoul is architecturally boring. I personally enjoy the streams amongst concrete towers, the lighting that brings life to the city at night, the rich historical buildings embedded throughout, and the safety that blankets you even when you’re alone by the Han River.
From Asian Bill Cunningham to n****ships, this city is pretty damn dope.
This is the first of a three-part series. Tune in next week for more of my tarot card reading, word vomit, and amateur photography.