Seoul Searching – September 2011
I honestly have no idea why I’m here. But I’m glad I am.
When I found out that I had a 5 day vacation for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) I decided I was going to do something I hadn’t done yet in my few years living overseas: I was going to do a proper vacation. You know, islands, beaches, lots of sleeping and perhaps a sunburn.
So I decided to be as cliché as I could be, and booked my tickets for Thailand.
I’ve never really had a pressing desire to go to Thailand. My knowledge of the country comes from movies like “The Beach”, “Brokedown Palace” and the second Bridget Jones book. In other words, everyone who goes here gets mixed up with drugs, smuggles them, and bad things happen.
But the beaches are pretty, in the mean time!
You would think that, in living in Korea, places like Thailand are only a hop, skip and a jump away. More like, to get to Phuket, the shortest trip by plane is 9 hours. I took a midnight flight to Singapore, went back up to Bangkok, and then hopped over to Phuket from there. And then I had an hour cab ride to my hotel.
I’ve never really been the type to let myself vacation. As I said with my last article, it’s something I feel I should start doing. My time in Japan left me feeling really refreshed, and that involved me travelling around at what felt like a breakneck pace. My plan in Thailand is the following: sit on a beach. Read. Swim. Repeat.
Some might think that to spend all that time travelling, just for what will essentially be a 4 day vacation, is a little excessive. I thought that too, but then I realized: If I keep telling myself that the perfect time will come up, the perfect time might NEVER come up, but a really good time will. So I’ll only be in Thailand for 4 days, but if I waited till my next vacation, I might not go at all. I’d rather be here for a long weekend than not at all.
I know lots of people who’s desire to go on a proper vacation goes from want to desperately need for their mental health. For some reason, even when they get a long weekend, they stay at home, finding reasons to not go. But there’s a reason airlines have overnight flights – So you can leave RIGHT after work and be where you want to in the morning. Now, I’m not saying everyone should rush off to Thailand (If it’s 9 hours for me, I can’t imagine the travel time for Canada) but there are lots of really great vacation spots close enough to do a long weekend.
I honestly believe the ability to travel is one of the most under-appreciated achievements of the 20th century. We developed ways to get around the world in amazing time, and yet so many people stop themselves from experiencing the world that is now at their doorsteps. Yes, it might be pricy sometimes. But at the end of the day, what memories are going to stand out more: countless holidays in your living room, or exploring the world and learning about new cultures?
Let me give you a hint: If you’ve been reading this column for a while, it’s not because I sit at home every weekend.