After two years, I’ve left Seoul, South Korea.
The answer to the “why?” isn’t very complicated. Simply, Seoul is a great place that is rapidly changing with so much potential, but it's just not for me. Also, considering that my last day at work was one of the happiest days I've had in recent memory, it's clear that it was time for a change.
Of course, I’ll miss my friends, some truly close and loyal friends. I’ll miss kimchi, glorious kimchi, and my favorite, jeon. I will miss my neighborhood, Hongdae. Around the corner from my door was one of the liveliest places in Korea: street music, good restaurants, cafes aplenty (maybe too plentiful), some of the best nightlife on the peninsula and also incredibly close to a subway station that can take you anywhere in the city incredibly quickly.
In some ways I'm in the exact same place I was right before I came to Seoul. Unemployed, I have few possessions, no place to call my own and no explicit plan or goal that I'm working towards.
In other ways I'm in a totally different place. I now have 3 years experience teaching abroad. I have learned a lot about relationships, those between myself and friends, significant others, co-workers, bosses and students. I've learned that I can accomplish much more during a single day than I previously thought. During a brief time I juggled my exhausting job teaching kindergarten alongside a girlfriend, half-assedly studying Korean, writing for a major travel blog and shooting, editing and appearing in a Japanese-language cooking show.
People often tell me they wish they had the guts to do what I'm doing. But it doesn't take much. Four years ago I filled out an application to work in Japan in 30 minutes while I was bored and unemployed living with my parents. But everyone is different and moving somewhere where you don't know a single person nor can you speak the language can be quite intimidating, but it is far from impossible.
However, I really don't take my lifestyle for granted. I know that I'm very fortunate and have experienced things that most of the people in the world haven't. That said, I did spend the vast majority of the last two years living a mostly ordinary life, dreading my alarm to go to work, just like so many other people in the world, so there are two sides to every coin.
For now, I'm staying in Osaka, with plans to spend the next two months in Japan. Traveling, seeing old friends, eating tons of awesome food. From here, to other parts of Asia and after that...who knows. I'm excited for what's to come, mostly because I have no idea what's ahead. Hell, I don’t even know where I’ll be next week, can I sleep on your couch?
P.S. There's still plenty more Korea content coming to this site, to be published alongside my current travels.