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This is the first time in two years I don’t have any travel planned. Since January of 2018, I have always had an upcoming trip. First, I went to Georgia. Then Boston, quickly followed by Michigan a few months later. From there I went to Canada before finally moving to South Korea. Once I arrived in Korea, I immediately started thinking about what I would do over the upcoming long weekend. From there, it’s been a series of travel experiences: day trips, weekend trips, friends visiting Korea, and trips all across Asia.
It’s been a weird roller coaster of emotions. Finishing my graduate semester made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve had anything planned. When I left for Bali, I thought I’d start scouring plane tickets for my next trip once I got back to Korea. Prior to COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic, I planned to travel to Tokyo in July. From there, I’d meet up with my brother’s German exchange partner from our high school GAPP days. After pushing back the dates a few times and tracking some flights, the plan eventually fell through. Travel restrictions were put into place. Mandatory quarantine would make traveling abroad impossible. Plus, universities cancelled study abroad programs, meaning my friend wouldn’t even be in Tokyo. That left me without travel plans. And to be fair, it is a very uncertain time to be planning travel.
Since I don’t have any travel planned, I’ve filled my time with watching travel vlogs and browsing through instagram. This gets me thinking about the abstract future. But I’ve also taken time to reflect on all the traveling I’ve done since my first trip abroad in 2012.
When people ask me where my favorite place was, I have a lot of trouble answering. There’s so much left to see in each country I traveled to, and I would go back to almost every place I traveled, but instead, I like to reflect and think about all the amazing countries that I haven’t yet had the chance to travel to.
So What Comes Next?
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be reflecting on my favorite travel experiences in the United States, South Korea, and the other countries I’ve visited. When I was brainstorming my favorite travel experiences, the ones that came to my mind first were of course the most recent ones from the last two years. When I think about traveling in the US, I don’t really have many travel experiences. While I’ve been to 13 states, most of those were for vacation, academic conferences, or visiting graduate school. And honestly, I don’t think that vacation really counts as traveling. While I tried to come up with ten experiences for each list, I think the US list might fall short.
To keep any of the lists from getting too long, I am going to split each list of my top experiences over a few weeks. Perhaps two weeks, maybe even three. It just depends how long each post gets as I reflect on my time traveling and consider how it has changed me and helped me to grow both in the moment and since the experience. I hope that you’ll join me as a recount my best experiences traveling the globe and share some of your own amazing experiences in the comments!
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