Korean Escapade 2010: Reflections from the Dae Han Min Guk Dream Trip

The trip to Korea was really an adventure of a lifetime. Korea is one country which I think is supposed to be enjoyed and experienced with travel buddies and friends. So it was really a good idea that I was with them during this Korean adventure. I do have some reflections and lessons which I would like to share:

image from theepochtimes.com

1)      If you survived the tunnel, you can survive anything. This is one catchphrase that we invented after surviving the 3rd tunnel at the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). We really had a challenging time navigating the tunnel because of its inclination/slope. It was easy enough to go down but it was really difficult to climb up. Our muscles protested; our lungs felt like they were going to burst; and we felt like we were going to faint. So after the experience, we surmised that if we have indeed survived the said tunnel, we can survive anything that life would bring us.

A drawing of the 3rd tunnel, DMZ, October 2010

2)      A hotel near the subway is very favorable. Our hotel was about 10-15 minutes from the nearest subway station. We had actually a good exercise every time we walk towards the subway station. However, during the night, it can really be an inconvenience because we were tired already and we cannot walk that distance anymore. So, next time (if we have the chance to go there again), we plan to get a hotel near the subway.

3)      A guided trip is another option worth looking into. We planned our trip according to our preferences: places to visit; food to eat and stuff that we wanted to buy. So we ended up planning the mode of transportation to use or having last minute adjustments or change of plans because of unexpected circumstances. While there are numerous advantages of having your own trip planned, I think a guided trip would be beneficial as well with a guide, transportation, and the like – all taken cared of.

4)      Walking is therapeutic. During this trip, I’ve walked so great a distance than I have ever walked in my entire life. I’m not complaining, the exercise did me a lot of good. But aside from all that walk-out (er work out), walking is a form of therapy for me. While walking, I had the chance to reflect and meditate on things; on life. I also had the time to appreciate the surroundings which I did not have the time to do back in Manila because I was busy.

Walking in Nami Island, South Korea, October 2010

5)    Always be ready with extra cash, otherwise, stick to the budget. One thing I learned from this trip is that it is very important to stick to the budget. Going to all the mall and markets can be really overwhelming most particularly when one sees various and numerous items which one wants to purchase. I have made some impulsive purchases but luckily I was still within my budget. It was a good thing too that I only purchased some stuff prior which I needed; so much so that when I made those on-the-spot purchases, I still had money left.

Korean Won, October 2010

6)      Have Fun. Traveling can be stressful and physically tiring (with all the physical exertions), but it is very essential to have fun and enjoy the moment. In the first place, the main objective of having a vacation is to rest, if this is not possible, then at least have fun – laugh, eat and engage in good and long talks with friends.

That ends my chronicles of my Korean escapade. Until my next adventure!

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