Being the itinerant that I am, I’m always dreaming of my next adventure. Now more than ever, where I have all the time in the world to daydream, I’m putting in the elbow grease to actually plan my next trip. Obviously, international travel during 2020 is out of the question. The next time I leave the country (unless it’s a weekend trip to Mexico) will be 2021, and I’ve decided that I’ll be going to South Korea.
Ever since I started following the YouTubers, Simon and Martina, I’ve dreamt of going to South Korea. They’re a quirky Canadian couple who lived in South Korea for six or so years, teaching English at elementary schools, although now they live in Tokyo. Simon and Martina (aka Eat Your Kimchi) made tons of videos of their travels around South Korea, their foodie adventures, and even crash course-type videos on different aspects of Korean culture.
This is one of my favorite videos by them, although it takes place in Japan:
Even though Eat Your Kimchi was my original inspiration to explore South Korea, there are a ton of other things that I’ve found through my research that has made the country that much more enticing. For one, Seoul is the wifi capital of the world and one of the most futuristic cities.
To me, that’s such a cool concept. A futuristic city. And along with those bright neon advertisements shining down on you from polished skyscrapers and impossible architectural feats, Seoul is home to a variety of eclectic shopping districts and one of the most efficient subway systems in the world. But what truly makes Seoul unique is that, unlike many of those other futuristic cities, Seoul has not tried to erased their history. The city’s past and future live hand in hand, with century-old temples and palaces placed alongside robot museums and virtual reality cafes.
When I plan any trip, I always hit up the same websites to look for travel tips and recommendations. I have already spent hours on these, looking for things to add to my South Korea travel itinerary. Of all the websites I frequent, these are my absolute favorite:
- Atlas Obscura (My #1)
- The Lonely Planet
- Rough Guides
- Culture Trip
- Shut Up and Go
Since I’ve wanted to go to South Korea for so long, I already have a huge list of places I want to go and things I want to do. I know that I want to spend the majority of my time in Seoul, exploring the trendy district Hongdae, finding the coolest coffee shops, gorging myself on Korean BBQ and shabu-shabu, going to museums and historic attractions, and even taking a hip hop class at 1Million Dance Center.
Other than Seoul, I know I want to go to Busan (their second largest city) and the DMZ (the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.) I may even want to do a week-long tour of North Korea, which would be heavily supervised, but I’m not sure. I like extreme travel and dark tourism but sometimes this kind of stuff isn’t worth it, especially with a country as unpredictable and dangerous as North Korea. Still, I’m going to keep that option open.
I probably have a whole year ahead of me before I go to South Korea. When I booked my trip to Japan, it was six months in advance and even that wait drove me crazy. I probably won’t even book my flight to Seoul for another six months at least, although I am going to try and hop on those discounts while they’re still available.
My point is, I have a lot of time before I get there. But by writing articles like this, perusing Instagram accounts specifically dedicated to South Korean travel, and watching YouTubers like Eat Your Kimchi, I can almost envision myself there. I’m going a little crazy right now, what with being stuck on a one-acre compound with ten of my closest family members, and thinking about this trip is calming me down.
If there’s a place you’ve always wanted to explore, this kind of planning can be really enjoyable and keep you entertained. And who knows? It might even inspire you to finally pull the trigger and take that planning seriously. Regardless, it’s a great way to pass the time.
What’s your dream trip?