Friday, February 1, 2013

En route

It's easy to forget about chasing adventures when the day-to-day at work makes you so exhausted that you fall into bed each night and there's yet another hot party every weekend.

But hot parties have never really been my thing. So why has it taken me five whole months to venture out of the Seoul metro area? I could make excuses: there's so much going on in Seoul; I'm acclimating to a new country and making myself comfortable with my current surroundings; I'm lazy. But they are all just excuses.

So when I got an invite by my recruiter to see Feed the Boats' last ever concert, I wrote it in on my newly acquired calendar and started making plans to go. But I tend to make these plans for myself and then completely flake by convincing myself that it will be no fun solo or that I haven't done enough research to accomplish my goal.

But then the Sou'Frican asked me what I was doing this weekend and the concert popped out of my mouth, even though it was still a vague idea. And suddenly, her friend wanted to go. And then the Canadian 2.0 wanted to go, too, on this vague, whimsically-planned adventure.

So I got excited. And even though the Sou'Frican's friend canceled last minute, the Candian 2.0 was still in. So we made it an adventure. A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of adventure.

We arrived at the train station a full twenty minutes before our train was set to leave, still needing to find the actual ticket counter, pay for our tickets and find our train. After ten minutes we got to the right ticket counter, only to hear "There are no seats left." This statement was soon followed up with "There is one seat left, and one Standing Room ticket." Well, why couldn't you lead with that???

So we got the tickets and hopped on our train. As these things go, you're never quite sure if you're getting on the right train. But the Korean train system was much less confusing than the Vietnam bus system, that's for sure. As we were just finding our seats, the train took off. Not much of a wait time, so you better not be late!

Our train whisked us away, through cities that invariably looked the same, giant apartment blocks and suspension bridges. But as the cities gave way to a more rural Korea, I could see more of a story. Terraces of rice paddies cared out if the land, rivers unhindered by cement barriers, solar panels, greenery (at least as green as things can get this time of year). I fell in love with Korea for more than just it's culture of honesty and feeling special in a crowd. I got to see actual beauty, something I've been craving without realizing it. I got a thrill of excitement at traveling into the semi-unknown, if incredibly safe.

I am heading to Gwangju.


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