The worst and most inevitable part of travel, for me, has always been the before. Before you leave, before you decide to go, before you pack, before you land, before you start. The before sucks. It's filled with unbridled expectations that no trip with ever live up to, in good ways and in bad. Doubt, stress, nerves, panic, more doubt, and then a healthy dose of legitimized fear will all start running around your head like a wild dog in Detroit. Any big trip has a few symptoms of the before, but if you can get through it, the after is always worth it.
It took me, personally, a long time to get over the before stuff, obviously. For most people that know me, I've only talked about going to Korea for the better part of the last decade. While I don't like to use the word "regret" (while I also don't like to be classified as cliche because everyone says they don't like to use the word "regret") I am slightly annoyed with myself that it took me this long to get here. Because here is great.
I'm only one week in, but its just been freakin fantastic so far. The food is good, albeit super spicy. (Apparently each province in Korea is known for its own twist on traditional Korean food, and Gwangju is located in the province that specializes in spicy). The people, both foreign and domestic, have been nice. The weather I won't even comment on because it will piss those people back in Iowa in 100 degree heat right off. The landscape surrounding the city is awesome, mountains everywhere. Even the rain (it's monsoon season) has been kinda perfect.
I just wish I could share all of it with more of you! I want everyone to start saving their $$ now, and start planning a trip. I understand if its not to Korea, but go somewhere! Cause the after, not the hokey-pokey, is what it really is all about.
"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."
― F. Scott Fitzgerald