A few weeks ago, I met a young British woman in a hostel in Seoul. She was from Essex. She apparently loved my accent. We instantly connected, bonding over colonialism, life philosophies and tattoos. She had just ended a year’s teaching contract in Japan. Adventuring, travelling. “My friends all live vicariously through me”, she said. “They’re jealous that I’ve been to Vietnam and Japan, while they’re at home with gardens and babies. But it’s funny because sometimes that’s all I want.” And that’s the secret, the thing that we adventurers don’t tell anyone, is that sometimes, we’d give it all up for that. For gardens and pets and the simple comforts of familiarity. What they don’t tell you is how lonely this life can be.
It’s not that you don’t make friends or connect with amazing people, because you do, but this lifestyle is so impermanent, days so transient and no-one ever stays. People orbit in and out of each other’s’ lives and the best you can hope for is a lasting Facebook relationship. So it comes down to the experiences. It’s about what these fleeting relationships offer you; it’s about how standing on that shore, overlooking the East Sea makes you feel. These are the only things we can keep. And sometimes, you long for something more tangible. Do I sound homesick? I am. I’m retching with feels. It feels terminal, but I’m 86.2% sure I’ll live. A friend suggested working in 3’s. Get through three weeks, then three months. I don’t want to “get through” it though. I want to enjoy it, live it, experience it (which might be a jingle for a sports drink).
I’ve been here for about 7 weeks. Feels like longer.