We all have those days when dressing up is not an option, when all we want to feel is comfortable. My outfits are most often a representation of my mood and when I’m feeling down or vulnerable, anything over sized makes me feel instantly comforted and secure. On days like these, wearing jeans and an over sized T-shirt is my go-to.
Recently I went back to an old town in the middle of the Korean countryside where I used to live. I guess I haven’t spoken about moving abroad and the challenges that it entails, but there’s always something about going back that puts me in a solemn mood. Even if I am enjoying myself, which is usually the case, I can’t help but remember what the experience was like and how it shaped my entire adult life. It makes me appreciate the fact that I am now out of that space, but at the same time, I’m equally grateful that I was in that space regardless of its challenges. I would love to write a post about living abroad and on your own but, a couple years later and I’m still figuring things out, but I guess that’s okay.
Living away from home can be hard a lot of the time but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth every single difficulty, because it is. I’m not sure if moving abroad at 21 was the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life but hey, several years later I’m still alive. So back to this little town called Yeongwol where I used to live. It’s a few hours out of Seoul in Gangwon-do, which holds a lot of Korea’s sorrowful history and still looks like pre-modernised Korea. But aside from this, it’s an absolutely beautiful place to visit in the autumn. So I try to go back at least once a year to see the leaves changing and to visit the tomb of King Danjong who is buried there.
Our journey started in Seoul, where my friend and I took a 2+ hour bus drive into the countryside. This meant getting up early and making our way to the East Seoul bus terminal. It also meant that we could catch the sunrise 🙂
The day always starts with a coffee!
Once we arrived in Yeongwol, we took a walk to the Tomb of King Danjong. I love taking a walk from the terminal up Danjong-ro(ad) and walk past my old apartment block. I still remember exactly how it looked inside. It was the first time I lived on my own. I remember in the mornings I would open the window and would be hit by a rather unpleasant smell and it would make me regret it every single time, haha. Now thinking back on it I can’t imagine why I thought the scent would be different each morning. On our way, we also stopped at Deer Park which has absolutely zero deers, but it’s a lovely place if you want something relaxing and peaceful.
You know how things never change in small towns? Turns out, this bench that I’m sitting on was painted like an hour before I got there. So if you see me walking around Seoul with a bench print on my behind you’ll know why.
After witnessing the fall foliage at Deer Park we made our way onward to the tomb, which you can see is nothing short of beautiful. I remember coming here a few times and each time has been something special. “What you seek is seeking you” and as the saying goes, I hope everyone who visits the tomb finds what it is they’re looking for. King Danjong was Korea’s young king who was exiled to Yeongwol and stripped of power by his uncle. I guess that’s why this town has such a moody atmosphere. His memory is still greatly respected and acknowledged. You can see it by those who visit his tomb, it’s in their movement, in the way they greet him and pay their respects. It’s somewhat indefinable but you’ll feel it when you see it. It may not be the happiest of places but still worth a visit.
After having a delicious vegetarian meal and a cafe session (not seen in pictures as it was too good to wait & photograph) we headed towards my favourite walking trail. It’s come sort of tradition now to visit these places. But the experience is always different. I guess because I am different now and I’ve grown by each visit. It’s also amazing to share these experiences with someone. Now when I look back at this moment there’ll be something more to feel grateful for. A big thanks to Arielle for making this trip with me!
Jeans & Parka – Zara, Boots – Caterpillar, Scarf – Jaju, T-shirt – Somewhere in Hongdae