Yes, at long last, Korea happened for me at the beginning of September this year. I spent 10 days in Seoul and had a marvelous time as I expected I would. Aside from the excitement of finally getting to go to Korea after all these years of studying Korean, this was an extra special trip because it was the first purely recreational, international trip that I budgeted for and planned on my own. Whee!
So why now? Why this time, this year? I didn’t make it explicitly obvious in my posts on this blog, but the main reason is I knew I was going to be at a crossroads at this time in my life.
When I bought my ticket in May for my trip in September, I knew that one of two things would have happened by that time – 1) I would have planned out a brand new PhD project after deciding to discontinue my old one or 2) I would have decided to graduate with my master’s degree and started to look for a new job.
In June, I made my decision and went with option 2. I now have my master’s degree in science from Stanford University and, well, this trip was a graduation gift to myself and a celebration of my accomplishments! As it is, I pushed aside studying Korean, taking the TOPIK exam, and going to Korea for far too long because of grad school. Sometimes there is no “right time” in your life and you just have to go with what your gut tells you…. so when I recognized this opportunity for a vacation, I booked my ticket and never second-guessed myself.
The next several posts on this blog are going to be about my experiences, impressions, and tips I acquired during the trip, so for those of you who may plan a vacation to Seoul in the future, I hope this will be helpful! (Please note that the travel tips I provide will be primarily for English-speakers from the United States, since that’s the only experience that I have.)