What I didn’t know and am starting to accept is no matter how great of a detail-oriented planner you are, the story will always play out a different and unexpected result.
During my recent trip to Korea, I heard stories from several new friends and life updates from old friends. I would think one of the very first answers you’d find out about a new friend is “why are you here?” That is simply not the case. The stories were reserved and untouched until the last few days of outings before we parted ways. I only knew them on the surface. I knew they work at the hostel, drink from midnight to the early morning, and that they are kind. What came later was discussion of degree concentrations, ambitions, dreams, and reasons for being in this place at this time. I learned that each individual possesses an incredibly unique story. One friend came to Korea to do actual Seoul searching as and plans to produce a film, another has a case competition to attend to and studied International Relations (which I think is the best major ever, and no, I ended up studying Communications), and friends from Thailand who I still don’t know the story of. Every individual and every encounter left a deep impression on my mind. These friends are strong individuals who left their homes to do what made them happy, what felt right to their gut. I admire you.
My old friends, who I met a year ago in Seoul, were still working at their teaching positions. One friend ended his contract rather early due to unforeseen unnecessary workplace negativity. This is where I witnessed both despair and the renewal of faith when plans fall apart. I always believed in “toughin’ it out” at a job. You should learn something before you leave. He didn’t need to stay until the entire contract was over to know where he should go next. To class. He went to Korean language classes. And he spends his days at coffee shops (Korean cafes are wonderful wee places to stay!) practicing his writing. It is such a delight to see that you can be happy without chasing after stability.
What were my reasons for travelling? Now that I think about it, it was mainly vacation and scoping out Asian cities to see which one I felt at home with for future job search reference. I discovered Taiwan as a potential home and that Seoul feels more and more like home every time I return. We will see where I go next!
Feature foto by Serena Neo at http://prblmtq.tumblr.com