What will I do after Korea? I love Korea and she’s been good to me for the past 3 years. But these last few months have been filled with introspection. There’s a strong likelihood I’m leaving Korea after this contract. I feel as though writing this post makes it even more probable but only time will tell if I leave or risk the transformation into one of those half-bitter expats living in Seoul.
There are dozens of reasons I should stay. Financially, socially and professionally it is an easy choice to sign another contract. Last year I was able to take 2 separate month-long vacations! I can easily pay off my student loans and still save money. Add in a solid social sphere and all the getaways around Korea and it’s easy to see that life is here freaking awesome! But, in spite of all this awesomeness there are cultural reasons I can’t stay here for the rest of my days.
Racism and sexism are clearly prevalent in every country. The US has Trump and the UK Brexiters. Luckily I’m a white guy and rarely the target but Korea is the one place I’ve dealt with it. I haven’t had a bad experience here in Korea either but cultural norms (might be related to the honorific nature of Korean language) can ruin your day.
I originally wrote a rant about all this but the fact is, even though I love it here I will one day leave. So where to next? The first thing I plan to do is take a mini retirement. You see, I’ve stockpiled enough millions of wons that I’m comfortable going without steady work for at least a year so I think I’ll give myself 6 months just for traveling.
The plan is to write about and photograph my way through South East Asia. I’ll start with some trekking in Nepal then make my way through India over 2 months. Another month further east in Myanmar before taking the land route to Laos or Thailand. The rest is up in the air but maybe I’ll finish up by revisiting my favorite spots in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
When I left America I said I was leaving for 1+ years. I know I’ll be in South East Asia for 4+ months but that could easily turn into more. Work will be easy to come by and if I can extend my “6 month retirement” then why not?
Written down suddenly the end feels nearer. In 8 months I just might leave Korea and embark on my next adventure! Thinking about it gets me more excited and I’ve heard that is the best way to move (especially to another country). Rather than focusing on reasons to “leave” Korea as those aforementioned bitter expats do, I’ll choose the positive route and look forward to this exciting new chapter!