The lifestyle of a full-time traveler is not always 'all that'.
Often, people reflect on their own recent vacations of cocktails on the beach or non-stop sightseeing and might think that is what full-time travel looks like.
Sure, I occasionally have those days, but my current life most often resembles a librarian convention.
I'm all about dispelling dreamy travel myths here at Gobsmacked, so without further ado, here is a less-than-suspenseful recap of a recent day in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday, May 23rd.
I awaken to the sound of traffic. We are staying in an Airbnb apartment on a busy street in Hongdae and while I love the action here, it is loud. It's also bright despite my wearing a sleeping mask, which is all stretched out and needs to be replaced. WHINE ALERT: I just can't find one I like as so many masks strap to my head like a satin strait jacket (which I hate), while my current cashmere mask gently covers the eyes and doesn't give me a headband headache.
Anyway, I'm surprised it's this late because we went to bed at 11:30 pm, considered a 'decent hour' in this household, and the bed, shockingly uncomfortable, is not one that would tempt you to sleep in. I love many things about this apartment- it's clean, has a decent shower and is in a superb location- but the bed is one of the hardest I've ever slept on, and that's saying something for a person who has spent nearly six months in Asia, a land famed for 'firm' beds.
I drag my sore back out of bed and check email/social media for an hour while I drink coffee.
Sufficiently caffeinated to face the day, I make breakfast (two fried eggs topped with avocado) and open up my new website, an entrepreneurial project that I'm anxious to launch. After months of pondering various ideas, Perry and I crystallized this one over coffee in Shanghai last month and it's taken shape quickly.
We review the latest logo iterations created by a Polish graphic designer Perry found online and decide on the one we think best fits the site. Between coffee and seeing our vision come to life, I'm buzzing with energy, and work on website content for the next three hours while Perry does chocolate milk tastings.
After Facetiming with Darren (our friend in Shanghai) and texting with Bob and Johanna (our Swedish friends who are on their way to Bali after a 14 day trek in Mongolia), it's time to clean up and hit the streets. We arrived on Friday afternoon after nine days off the grid in Mongolia, but have been too tired (and internet deprived) to explore, venturing only around our neighborhood and spending most of our time inside catching up on projects.
Today, we are headed to Myeong-dong for lunch and to check out several cat cafes as well as a few supermarkets (for Perry's chocolate milk website).
Navigating the Seoul metro was easy-peasy and it's super clean to boot, two thumbs up!
Myeong-dong is a riot of crowds and K-pop music. If this is how a Tuesday afternoon looks, I'm afraid to think what it's like on the weekend! I'm keen on having bibimbap for lunch and we spend an hour looking for a restaurant famous for it, Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan, with no success. After passing the same girl hawking face cream for the third time, we finally give up and sit down in a family run place where we are the only Westerners in sight.
We place our order for two bibimbap stone pots and while waiting for them, are surprised when they set down six small bowls filled with a variety of vegetables, kimchi and soup in front of us. As typical, we sat there looking around, unsure if we were supposed to eat them or wait for the meal. We waited and tucked into everything all at once. It was pretty good, but I needed to add a lot of gochujang.
After lunch, we locate and visit three cat cafes while unsuccessfully searching for a fourth. They are all very nice spaces- none reek of urine and the cats are super cute, with a few granting us lap privileges.
In between, we scour supermarkets and convenience stores for chocolate milk. In addition to the 35 varieties in our apartment fridge waiting to be reviewed, Perry finds three new ones to add to the arsenal.
We head to Seoul train station from Myeong-dong, encountering a glittering urban landscape, a raised pedestrian walkway and an art installation featuring used shoes and flowers.
After a sardine-packed rush hour ride on the Seoul metro, we finally return to our apartment. It's been a successful outing and I reflect on how strange my standards for 'success' have become.
Dinner is comprised of steamed broccoli and a pouch of Korean-style chicken I picked up at the 7-Eleven downstairs. Convenience stores in South Korea are like colorful mini-Costco's, filled with surprises- gobs of snacky delights, a jaw-dropping variety of beverages, and decent food quality.
I switch gears and work on my Mongolia video for the rest of the evening, interrupted only by the clatter of the refrigerator side shelf which falls under the weight of chocolate milk, forcing Perry to spend an hour supergluing it back together.
I'm in bed now and finishing up a few to-do list items such as place an order for our Japan Rail passes and begin researching Sapporo cat cafes. After much shifting around in my bed-that-feels-like-a-table, I fall asleep around midnight.
Thanks for reading!
Next time on Gobsmacked: A Typical Travel Day for a Full-Time Traveler