[Travel snippets – TS – a series of reflections on past travels and adventures]
Want to start a fight? Walk up to all your traveling friends and say “I just came back from Korea, and they are the friendliest people I have ever met!”. Within 6 nanoseconds you will hear multiple people swear that distinction belongs to the Japanese, and maybe a few outliers will mention some other candidates. I wonder if Japanese and Korean people fight about who is the friendliest?
Japanese people are polite, courteous, were helpful to me when I was lost, and without question, worthy candidates in this conversation. I cannot quantify varying degrees of, maybe I just had not been to Japan for a long time, but when I went to Korea, I for sure was struck by the friendliness of Koreans.
Seoul has a great deal going for it: ease of access to WiFi, street markets, rooftop parties, a modern sensibility, a great train system, some American-friendly shopping areas, history / palaces, and more.
In Seoul, you can go to American-like places, and be in a Korean version of America, if that is what you want out of your travel experience. Or you can get away from that, visit Gyeongbokgung and other palaces, walk the streets of traditional housing, enjoy great food, and see if you can find a lily pad big enough for you.
Life can be a little bit like Seoul. You can stick to what is familiar if you want, or you can actively seek out adventure and new experiences. It’s up to you, plan your journey accordingly.