With my budget and work schedule, I don’t travel a lot as I want to. In fact, a lot of my vacation have me staying in town and doing staycations or doing day trips to visit parts of Korea with friends. Up until now, my travel escapades have been the following:
July-August 2004: Guam — I travelled alone to visit my best friend.
May 2008: Tokyo, Japan — I travelled with two friends.
October 2010: Tokyo, Japan — I travelled alone, but I met up with a friend every day.
January 2012: Daegu, South Korea — I travelled alone to visit a friend overnight.
September 2014: Donghae and Samcheok, South Korea — I travelled with two friends for an overnight trip.
January 2015: Osaka and Kyoto, Japan — I travelled with a friend.
In between all of these travels, I’d also visited Uijeongbu, Incheon, and Cheongju several times as day trips to see friends or to see the area with a friend. As you can see, I’ve never technically travelled “alone”. Next week, however, I will be completely travelling alone to a new part of South Korea — in Sokcho area. I wanted to go back to Japan, but that plan was way out of my budget. Besides, I really wanted to see the East Sea again, and Sokcho is a place I haven’t been to yet in South Korea. I’m super excited about this trip. It will be a short trip — four nights, five days — and it will be my own personal getaway. I’m going alone, and I made zero plans to meet anybody there. Why am I going alone? Because of several reasons.
Scheduling and Doing Activities at My Own Pace
I can schedule everything and however I want. I can spend a whole day in the mountain and hike at my own pace. I can choose to just sit on a beach and attempt to take photographs without making anybody wait. I can explore Sokcho and experience the coastal city life at my own leisure. I really like the idea of doing things on my own, without having to rush or slow down at anyone’s expense.
Gaining Solitude and Peace
The introvert in me desperately wants solitude and peace. My job alone drains me on a daily basis because I work in a super hectic, noisy, and chaotic environment. I have to constantly be an extrovert with people; I have a lot of days where I don’t want to talk or interact with people, but that’s impossible with my job. This trip is for the introvert inside of me. I’ll spend one day at Mt Seorak to commune with nature. I’ll be visiting the beach that’s nearby my hotel in the morning, afternoon, and evening, just so I can listen to the waves and watch the pretty water of the East Sea. I will not be obligated to talk to anyone, so that’s something I am eagerly looking forward to on this trip.
Escaping from the Chaotic City Life
I love Seoul. I’m a city girl at heart. I absolutely adore the fact that there is always something I can do in my own neighbourhood. However, my neighbourhood is the new hotspot for the young and the restless, and it’s . . . crazy on the weekend to where I can’t even walk down the street without weaving around people so I can get to my destination. I’m hoping to avoid the crowds for this adventure by choosing to travel during the weekday with no Korean holiday in sight! I’m ready to enjoy my time on the coast and the mountain. It will be, literally, a breath of fresh (and clean!) air.
Reflecting and Healing Session
Everything I wrote above will allow me to just reflect and heal my weary self. My mother kept asking why I’m going alone, and I couldn’t find the words in Korean to explain that I’m doing this to give myself time to reflect where I am with life and to just heal my body and mind. Sure, I can do that anywhere, but something about doing this away from my usual environment will be a welcoming change. And this will sound cliche, but I really want to just sit on a beach and listen to the waves. I want to open up my senses to the sea — to see, hear, smell, and feel the nature.
Tackling the Challenge
Lastly, I choose to travel alone because I see this as a personal challenge to overcome. I want to be able to say I’ve travelled completely alone, even if it is in a country I’ve lived most of life. I want to experience the joy and frustration of Sokcho’s confusing bus system. I want to conquer this “fear” of eating alone somewhere. And I want to show people that it’s okay to travel alone. Some cultures frown upon the concept of solo travelling, but I believe otherwise, that it’s completely fine to go to places alone if it’s something you truly desire.
Would you ever travel alone? Have you travelled alone? If yes, how did you feel? Or if never, do you enjoy group travels?