One year ago today I met this boy.
He was waiting for me outside Itaewon Station in Seoul, and even though we were just going out for lunch, he already looked like he was ready to set off on a trip – royal blue Patagonia jacket, and a small day-pack strapped on his back. What was he carrying in there, anyway?
Somehow or another through the travel blogosphere (or perhaps an e-mail requesting a link exchange…) we realized that we were both living just outside of Seoul. Sam being the resident expert on all things Korea offered to show me around town.
And so we went on our first unofficial date.
Well what can I say, the boy made quite an impression on me! What with all these stories of camping out in the Thar desert, gallivanting through Bangladesh (who even travels there?!), and cruising around Laos’ 4000 islands.
I think I just sat there trying not to smile too hard.
Lunch went so well that we ended up spending the rest of the day wandering around the city together. From the Indian restaurant over to Hongdae, then to a coffee shop, and over to a waffle house, and then it was time for him to go back home. But the story doesn’t end there because we made plans!
For the next few weeks we just found reasons to keep hanging out together,
‘Oh, Mark from Migrationology is in town. Wanna join us for a traditional Korean lunch?’
‘There’s a really cool rundown neighbourhood by the Han River. Want to go take pictures?’
‘You’re still on WordPress.com?! We need to fix that ASAP! How about this Sunday?’
Seeing as we were already spending every weekend together, we eventually stopped looking for pretexts and just started dating already. Geez!
Fast forward 365 days, and I am not where I thought I’d be. i.e. In a tropical country, working remotely, and backpacking around South East Asia with this fine boy by my side!
I moved to Korea with very little direction. I had just turned down grad school in England weeks before I was due to fly out (I even had a pricey student visa already stamped in my passport!), but the UK just didn’t feel right and I couldn’t shake the feeling away. Even though I had no other prospects, I turned down the masters program and found myself a job in Korea instead. Korea…a place I had never been to before and knew next to nothing about.
I figured I might last 6 months there and told my parents I would likely be back in Canada by the end of summer. As we all know, that didn’t happen.
As I write this, I’m in a little guesthouse in the Kingdom of Cambodia. (The freakin’ Kingdom of Cambodia, people!) I’ve been travelling with the boy around Malaysia for one whole month and it’s been mostly unicorns and rainbows, with a lot of sweat and mango shakes in between. And the best part is that we’ve got nothing but more of this ahead!
If you had asked me a year ago what I thought I’d be doing today, I never would have guessed this. So cheers to the boy who put all these crazy travel ideas in my head and helped me merge work and travel together. Now we’re off to celebrate on some beach in Sihanoukville with Angkor beers in hand, because 365 days is a pretty cool milestone.