Sometimes running a travel blog gives the illusion that all we do is travel. For Sam and I, travel dominates a large part of our lives – it’s what we feel most alive doing, it’s what we crave. Yet for the past year we have been ‘living’ in a place. That means a job, a routine, and responsibilities. Korea has become our temporary home – we eat dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥) and kimchi bokumbap (김치 볶음밥) on a daily basis, we dance to Gangnam Style every time we hear it playing on the radio (come on, it’s catchy guys!), and we feel more comfortable wielding chopsticks than we do a knife and fork. We’ve adapted to life in Korea, but there comes a time when a new city stop giving you the same feeling as real travel.
Is every weekend filled with exploration?
After almost a year of living in this country, we still like to go out on weekends to try something new and do some filming. You’ve seen us go to mud festivals, explore Buddhist temples in random cities, play with kittens at cat cafes and pups at dog cafes, eat our fill of strange foods at the local markets, and explore the city’s back alleys as well as its main thoroughfares.
Every once in a while, however, we like to just have a lazy weekend in where we don’t take any buses or trains around the country. I’m talking about the kind of weekend where you wake up whenever you feel like it (usually when the sounds of children playing outside gets too loud), put on your comfiest sweater, and head to the local cafe just down the street for a cup of hot chocolate with your lap top in tow. The kind of weekend you’d have back at home. That’s what a lot of our weekends have looked like, especially now that winter has set in and spending more than twenty minutes outdoors is unbearable.
I’m not saying it’s been easy. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without venturing off to another country since I was 18. After averaging 2-4 international trips a year, (for the past 8 years! whoaaa), it’s kind of tough to quit cold turkey. This however, is part of the sacrifice we’ve both decided to make in order to save enough mula to fund a long, and I mean a very very long journey with no end date in sight.
Will it be worth it?
How do you keep sane when you aren’t travelling?
– Day trips and weekend trips! We live in a country small enough that it can be crossed on the bullet train in just 1.5 hours. This has allowed us to take weekend trips to Busan for some beach time, to explore tea plantations in Boseong, and bamboo forests in Damyang.
– Explore the city you’re in. Everything was new and shiny when I first moved here, and for the first few months I spent every weekend exclusively in Seoul getting to know every palace, restaurants, and back alley. I know my way around Seoul almost as well as I know my way around my hometown. But there are still new places to keep discovering – that’s the beauty of a mega-city!
– Meet new people. One of the things I most love about travel is all the new people I get to meet. I enjoy hearing people’s stories, their dreams and aspirations, where they’ve come from and where they’re going. You can get to know people where you are. Most cities in Korea have large English speaking communities that meet on a regular basis. Scour some forums; Facebook and Meetup are great places to start. And in our case, there is a huge travel blogging community based in Korea that we get to meet up with every once in a while.
– Stay at a hotel. That’s right! Book yourself a nice room in a great location, and enjoy a weekend in the city the way a tourist would. Treat yourself to a bubble bath, complimentary breakfast, try a new foreign restaurant (perhaps that Indian one that just opened?), and maybe head to the new art exhibition in town.
– Read a book set in a faraway land. Nothing can transport you to another place quicker than a really good book set in some exotic locale.
– And if all else fails, get yourself a guidebook and start planning the next adventure!
How do you deal with the “in-betweens”?