The months of March and April are typically filled with children, of all ages, skipping with glee filled delight just knowing they are going to have a week away from school. Many college age students choose beach locations or even skiing locations. I am a bit unusual, in many ways, and my spring break plans the past two years reflect that for sure.
Last year I went to Rome, Italy and stayed with a friend. I gallivanted the streets of Rome tasting the food and touring the sights. This year, I went to South Korea. Both experiences were extremely different and taught me far more than I think anyone wants me to write about here.
Many people asked me if I was nervous going because of all that was/is happening with North Korea. My answer was no, and still is no. In the days leading up to my departure, to boarding the plane, to landing, to adventuring, to leaving S. Korea to come home… my answer is and was no. There was no fear of anything happening to me because of N. Korea. I wanted to visit the DMZ (the N. Korean border) however, that was not possible for various reasons. It seemed as if it would be an opportunity of a lifetime, to be able to say “I have been to the N. Korean border”. The entire trip was the opportunity of a life time. My life time. My life. My opportunity.
When I travel I always meet interesting people and get asked interesting questions, mainly because I am from Arkansas. Apparently people in the rest of the world did not know Arkansans travel outside of Arkansas. We do, people! We do! Every time someone would ask me what was taking me to S. Korea their first assumption was always a business trip. Then they would immediately ask if I was studying abroad there. When I told them I was going for spring break, they all seemed shocked. They didn’t know how to handle that. It was so different. It just isn’t the place people typically go for spring break. They would make jokes like, “No Panama City Beach for you this year?” – Just so you know, I have only been to PCB twice. Both were for church camps in junior high/high school. – People just looked at me like I was some type of alien. After they found out I hail from Arkansas I would receive an even more strange look from them. I halfway thought they were going to send me MedCure (the place you can donate your body to be studied for science). They had this glazed over look like they wanted to poke and prod me to see if I was really human.
This type of trip didn’t, and still doesn’t seem that strange to me. I have eaten the food, attended their classes, visited their spas, explored their palaces, taken part in their changing of the guard ceremonies (funny story with that one), walked their famous streets, ridden the rides at their amusement parks, nerded out at the sharks in their aquarium, toured on their river cruise, hiked the Bugak mountain, viewed the city from the sky tower, and learned how to use their metro and bus systems. It was an amazing spring break, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.