Overall, I would say I am a rational person. However, I do get those impulsive tendencies where I just want to do something. Being in a different country has sparked the feeling more often than not. One of those impulsive trips was going to Yeouido. I didn’t know what I was going to do or where in Yeouido I wanted to go to — all I knew was that I wanted to go. I attempted to invite people to come along, but all were either busy or sick. The impulsive adventure had to also be a solo one.
Yeouido is not that far from Sinchon station, by subway it only took around 16 minutes. Within those 16 minutes I realized something: I really didn’t know where I was going. Once I arrived I just decided to walk around. I could have searched for where to go except I don’t have phone service, so my phone is only useable when I am connected to wi-fi. Nonetheless, this itself was interesting because I wanted to see how I lost I could get.
While walking there were small things I found beautiful. I have some fascinations with the trees here. I know they exist in California, but these trees are really green. On top of that, there was also a lot of statues, but the one I am sharing is my favorite.
After blindly exploring, I came across a mall that had wi-fi. I took this chance to map out what I can do and that is when I found out I was extremely close to Yeouido Park. When I arrived to the park, I felt like a fish out of water. For one thing I was alone, and there were countless families and couples surrounding me. Also, I was a foreigner. Normally I would be able to see one or two foreigners somewhere in Seoul, but there was no one this time. I still carried on with my exploration and just began to walk.
There was a lot offered. I noticed a lot of people riding bikes, both single-seated and double-seated. If there is one thing to know about people on wheels in this country it’s that they have the right of way. This applies to bikes, too. There were a few times where they nearly ran into me because either I was not moving fast enough or they weren’t slowing down enough so I could move out of the way. Either way, I saw my life flash before my eyes a few times.
Since this was a solo adventure, I paid closer attention to my surroundings I began to notice that there were so many families spending quality time with one another. If I recall correctly there was rarely anyone on their phone, and if they were, it was because they were taking pictures. Once I realized this, I was quite shocked. Maybe it’s because I don’t give myself the opportunity to notice, but I do not recall any place back home where people are that attentive to each other. To see mothers and their young daughters have a good laugh over the struggle of riding a double-seated bike was heartwarming.
The park is surrounded by sky towers, but that does not take away the potential for gorgeous pictures. They offered many places that were even nice to just look at. Being inside the park made you forget about surrounding city. I was really happy that I was exploring alone because I do not think I would have appreciated it as much if I had another person accompany me. The solitude gave me a chance to reflect on the beauty of my surroundings and how lucky I am to be in this country.
Overall, I think this has given me more reason to listen to those impulsive thoughts and just try things out.
Erica McGee is an English major who aspires to teach abroad. She is studying at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea for a full academic year.