Yep, my very first international travel was alone and to a foreign country that I only have known by stumbling upon K-Pop and K-drama. This random travel was due to a friend, whom we will call Jayce (I miss you, Love. <3). And hey, it was a for my birthday anyway.
Jayce inspired me to do it and check something out of my bucket list. And so, I did. I ‘almost’ but not really starved myself to get enough funds for the trip. Because it wouldn’t be right to ask from my parents. I will skip the parts where I will discuss on what you need to get your butt over there since there are a lot of blogs that talks about the requirements and all that jazz. I mean seriously, there are lots and I want to thank them for their guidance.
Anyways, back to the story. So let’s step a few weeks back, October 19th, 2018 at around 8AM, was too early considering my flight was around 2:30PM, I bid my mom good bye who kept reminding me, “Ayaw ug kiat didto ha. And pray jud. Chat Papa nimu dayon, inig abot nimu.’ (Don’t be careless. And pray, always. Chat your Dad when you land.) I carried my bag, all nervous and excited. Hey, it is my first time going outside the country alone with no one with me. Imagine panic attack plus adrenaline rush. I was every where~
When the plane was 36,000 feet up, I thought to myself, that I am quite selfish, not sharing the prettiest skies I have seen especially the sunset. Oh my the sunset.
Cutting to the chase, when the plane landed in Incheon, my heart was pounding so hard. What was inside my head were, “Crap. I’m here! Now what?’ and ‘Shit, man.. I should go back home.’ and most of all, ‘Don’t you dare pee yourself in your pants. Keep your shit together!’ Yeah, I talk to myself like that. It’s some times therapeutic and some times I lose with an argument with myself. And should I say, it was really cold that night. I was only wearing a mere old Star Wars hoodie and kind of sickly, I thought I was going to quarantine for having the following: cough, colds, hoarse voice and headache.
My first day, was also my first night. Braving my butt over the 9° Celsius train ride via AREX from Incheon Internationl Airport to Seoul. Read this! I got off the wrong platform, nice. I stopped at Hyungik University Station, very confident that I could get to where I am staying in minutes. I got stranded by the streets for a whole hour. Get this! I was panicking my way, hailing cabs where drivers speak minimal to zero English. I was so dead. Thankfully, the fourth cab and cab driver ahjussi (Mister or Uncle) was very helpful and put a shame on my Google Map skills. I was just right across the street. *face palm*
If you were wondering, I stayed at Michigan House and Pub. Very friendly staff, 5 stars for everyone! Food was amazing as well. Cozy room, I was staying in a small for one bedroom. Though small, it is cozy and what I loved the most was the heated floor and the hot and cold shower! YES!!!
Second day, I had the whole day to myself. I was thinking of visiting the YG building, but I had to ride a bus that comes every 3-5 minutes. And I was still confused over where to go and which bus stop should I wait. I was all over Hongdae at 8AM but decided to go out later on, since most shops open at 9 or 10 AM. Funniest thing, I visited Diaso, they have about 4 stories in Hongdae. When I got to Myeongdong they have about 6-8 stories for Daiso. And our Daiso? A mere cramped up and tiny space.
Then I decided to visit what I was too excited for, The Famous Burger owned by one of my favorite Korean rapper, Loco. This is what I was referring to one of the pictures, one of the best food comas I had. I had to go back to the house because I was so full that I could barely walk back to the bus stop. I only ordered the plain ol’ cheese burger they had with a side of fries and only had water with it. It was the best greasy food I had, I swear to you.
Third day, Nami Island and Petite France adventure. It was 7° Celsius in Hongdae, but when I reached Nami Island, it was around 4-5° Celsius and what I was wearing was only these layers, heat tech long johns, pants, shirt, hoodie, not so thick socks, and a beanie. Bravery at its finest! Remember I was alone and no one to talk to, I was already seeing my breath when I tried to let out a long sigh. But wait, I heard a really familiar dialect. God sent! A few younger travelers from Davao City were trying to laugh off the cold. I was hesitant to approach them, but I had to. I needed to survive the whole day! I met Ana (name twin), Kat, She, and Peewoah, and I was so thankful for them. I enjoyed every corner of Nami, Petite France, and Myeongdong.
I fell in love with autumn. The trees reminding you that even if you fall, we still can get up, no matter how hard and harsh things can and will be.
Fourth day, this banana woke up way too early to catch an early bus ride to Myeongdong Exit 2. I froze my fat butt for at least an hour or two, with the 9° Celsius weather. This time, I would have gone to Gyeongbokgung Palace, try on traditional Hanboks on, and go to Namsan Tower even if I do not have to put on any love lock.
Sadly this did not happen. Klook or the people from the agency actually emailed quite too late that the tour was cancelled due to a little to no people booked on that said day. I then planned to go somewhere, since I got the whole day to myself again. But since the night before I went back quite too late, my lazy butt went back to the house and slept. What a waste right? Yeah, a little bit. But I did promise myself, that I am definitely going back, and wear them pretty clothes.
Fifth and last day, of course, I was thinking of going somewhere before giong to the airport. But as I am, paranoid and anxious, I woke up late, and got ready. Took my last hot shower (how I missed it.) It was also raining that day. So it was still freezing cold at 13°. I drank my last Binggrae Banana Milk. Ate my last fried rice from Michigan House and Pub. Wait for the time and the rain to stop. My flight was around 8PM and I got my arse inside AREX at around 2PM. Go figure~
Since this time the neighborhood was so familiar, it did not take long for me to get my freezing arse get to the platform where it was so warm. My last AREX ride was quiet and full of separation anxiety. Though it was just only a few days, it was not enough to explore one of the biggest cities in the world.
How I wish I could share more, and if you ask if I cried over little things due to anxiety, yes, definitely. I have never felt so lonely during the night, and keep a smiling face during the day when I am around millions of people. You might say it’ll be normal, since it was my first time, true. But not all cries because they’re home sick. I was so scared that I now think it is kind of funny.
If you ask again, will I ever do it again? Travelling, alone? Yes. But I now want to travel with family or friends soon. I don’t want to have any panic attacks again that soon.