So my best buddy, who I never doubted would make it to Korea, has finally come to the Land of the Morning Calm. Sam Kirby, one of my oldest friends, traveled for over 24 hours and half way around the world to find out what Korea is all about. Sam has traveled nearly all over the world, but this is his first time to eastern Asia. One of his most interesting observations has been that Korea does not cater to tourist. Since he skipped Seoul and came straight to Jeollanamdo, he has had a difficult time finding souvenirs, postcards and a decent cup of coffee.
But finding things he can find at home is not what Sam is all about. When we traveled western Europe in our early 20s, Sam led the charge in having the most random experiences we could have. He took us to the shadiest bars in the smallest Scottish towns, to a dance and dinner party in the mountains outside Barcelona and got mugged in Moscow for, what I believe, the sake of an authentic experience.
So now he is here in Korea, saying ‘Annyong Haseyo’ in broken Korean to anyone who will listen and just today took off on his own to a small coastal town south of here to see what authentic experience he can make for himself. This morning we biked in the rice fields just outside of the hustle and bustle of Gwangju and he chided me for not speaking to the locals. If there is a person who will have an interesting experience in a week abroad or make a few friends in one day who don’t speak any English, it is Sam.