I love being able to step out of my comfort zone. It's exciting to be in a different culture, seeing ways of life that do not mirror my own. I wish everyone could have that experience several times in their life. It makes you grow in a way that little else can. That's why I love to travel internationally. It's exhilarating and addictive. If I could, I'd visit a different country every six months.
But, my budget and responsibilities do not allow for this indulgence. As I blogged about earlier, wanderlust is like an incurable disease, and I am grateful that I fed it with a trip to Korea. I was only there 9 days, but I crammed a lot into those days. The friend I went to visit was a wonderful tour guide and hostess and we visited four cities, numerous ancient temples and palaces, beaches, and even found a salsa club. We walked for miles, took tons of photos, and ate foods we didn't know the names of. I drove a moped and we lived to tell about it. We navigated a place where between the two of us, we probably spoke five words in their language, but managed to get to bus terminals and subway stations that got us across the country and back. It was an adventure that I will be forever happy that I got to experience.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is eat, so I took lots of photos of the food. I didn't know what all of them were, but I sampled anyway and most were delicious.
My other joy when I travel is learning about the place I am visiting. I didn't know much about Korea's history, but after having learned how they rebuilt after the Korean war, I am in awe. They pretty much had to rebuild from the rubble that was left after the war. That was only 60 years ago. Today, they are the most developed country in Asia, and one of the most developed in the world. Their success is thanks to a lot of help from the United Nations, but it is still a feat to be where they are after the UN declared that they would need 100 years and a miracle to recover from the war. They did more than recover, they became a global powerhouse. It was evident in their excellent public transportation systems and fast internet speeds, even when I was sharing it with 25 million other people in Seoul.
Aside from driving the moped, my favorite parts of the trip were visiting the temples and the War Memorial of Korea Museum. Here are some photos from each:
Of course, I took tons more photos and ate way more food. All in all, it surpassed my expectations and I would highly recommend visiting South Korea.