Go where you are celebrated, not where you are tolerated.
– Author Unknown
Talking with my new friend Ara, a Korean local that is also extremely camera shy (thus the reason for no photos of us), we have shared a few discussions regarding travel, especially since she is getting ready for her first big two-month backpacking trip that begins in India and ends in Eastern or Western Europe. From our discussions, I’ve helped provide her with a bit of insight, possibly what to expect, and thought I would share some of the travel advice I gave to her. The one thing I’ve constantly reminded people is that I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I’m going to sell all my belongings, quit my job, and travel without any idea of where I’m going to begin, but took the time to do some pre-travel planning and preparation and this has seriously made a world of difference in comparison to the problems I’ve both seen and heard from others on the road. While this may go against the backpacking spirit of never planning an itinerary–maybe lack of committing to plans–these are just a very few issues to consider prior to leaving for a extended traveling:
Wide-awake at 4am, I continue to struggle and fight to get back to sleep but give up on this battle after nearly 2-hours, and decide if sleep is going to elude me well at least some writing will not. Blogging has been a great outlet, both in preserving memories while they are still fresh and providing me with an early morning activity when Skyping is out of the question, because even though we’re backpackers there is still an order of etiquette to maintain living in hostels. You certainly do not want to be the guy that steals precious sleep from others–automatic outcast. The morning writing session is productive and a new blog is posted to the already oversaturated market of travel bloggers, c’mon man, I’m realistic and understand that this is an incredibly tough niche market to attempt to break in to as a monetary means to optimize extended travel, but I am always hopeful. Big money, big money, big money….click click click click, or being in Asia I should be saying, crick crick crick crick crick. For some hilarious reason, the topic of American game shows was where a typical nightly conversation led us and we started talking about the infamous Bob Barker and his associates. Hiarious indeed.
Completing forgetting about the fact that today is the notorious College Scholastic Ability Test or Suneung (수능) for high school seniors–the annual test that puts a 20-minute no fly zone over Korea during the verbal section of the exam and sadly is associated with an increased number of suicides, because of the amount of pressure and stress that is placed upon the scores for both graduation and university acceptance–I receive a message from my friend Ray, who teaches Middle School, as he has the day off because it is too close in proximity to the High School, and asks if I would like to meet up for lunch. Feeling the onset of exhaustion hitting me like a wave, I’ve chosen an afternoon nap instead and want to slap Jacob for keeping me up talking about his travel plans to Thailand until 2:30am the previous night, ok maybe just a small punch instead. I suppose I still find it humorous when people ask where I’m heading to next and when my answer is, “no idea,” but rattle off a list of surrounding countries that may be a possibility, they tend to be unsure of how to respond to my initial response, and even I can appreciate the sense of adventure this answer, to what should be a pretty simple question, has conjured in their thoughts.