When the boy and I decided to pack it up and move to Korea we were told by numerous people that we were insane. Why would we want to be anywhere near Kim Jong-Il? Why would we want to stuff our faces with spicy fermented cabbage? Why leave everything we know and move to a place where we don't understand the language or customs?
Don't know if you've noticed, but we are a little crazy. And extremely passionate about travel. Not that anything could really shock my family or friends anymore, but I was inspired by fellow blogger, Dangerous Business to make a little list of "the 5 places I want to visit that mom and dad don't know about". Well daddy, I know you're reading this and I'm sure you won't be too surprised but here they are:
#1 Saudi Arabia
Why? Um, because it's Saudi Arabia.
You can blame my grandpa. The man spent a significant amount of time there during his years as a Green Beret. He has some crazy stories from the place and a HUGE hookah that he bought while he was there. (Seriously. I thought it was a coat hanger when I was young) It's a country shrouded in mystery and deeply rooted traditions and values. I like danger. I like mystery. I've got values. Plus, while the boy and I were in Bahrain we heard a few little birdies talk about all the underground partying that happens there. Le bonus.
Well it's not ridiculously crazy, but it's cold. Colder than Stalin's balls.
I had never really had any extreme urge to go to Antarctica until I met the mister. It's been calling to him all of his life. He had the opportunity to either go to Antarctica or travel to Tanzania during our senior year of college. He chose Tanzania, and good thing too- it is where we met after all. Regardless of just how ridiculously happy I make him (ego boost), he still has a void. One that can only be filled with a freezing trip down to A-town. It's also the only continent that he has yet to step foot on. (bonus: penguins)
The food (hummus, falafel, baklawa.. oh my!), the souks, one of the oldest human settlements in the world. What's not to love about Syria? And really, how many people do you know have been to Syria? It also helps that I'm obsessed with anything that has to do with the middle east. There's just so much to do and see. I'm sure I could easily spend a year or two just trying to take everything in.
Oh the steppes of Mongolia.
We've had our eye on Mongolia for quite some time. It's just a tease really. It's only a short 3-hour plane ride from Seoul and it's relatively cheap. We really want to spend a few weeks out on the steppes with a host family; living in a ger, hunting with eagles, and collecting yak dung for our fire. Well, maybe not so much the last one, but I hear it's pretty necessary. We're trying to get everything worked out so that we can actually make this trip a reality before we leave Korea. Please for the love of Anderson Cooper, let this happen!
#5 North Korea
I know what you're thinking. "Why go to North Korea when you have all of the kimchi you could possibly want in the South?"
Well my friends, the answer is simply because of curiosity. Before Kim Jon-Il completely lost his marbles and decided that torpedoing ships and bombing small islands was a good idea, we actually had looked into a few trips into North Korea. After living in the ROK for over a year a half it would be really interesting to see how things are for those that live on the other side of the fence. The one drawback was the price. It was absurdly expensive and there was no way that we were going to put our hard earned money directly into KJI's pocket. I'd like to not fund terrorism and mass starvation (is funding starvation even possible?), thank you. Also, we'd have someone following our every move for the entire duration of our stay. Not really how we role. I do sincerely hope that one day there will be an easy way for people to cross back and forth. There are countless families that have remained separated since the start of the Korean war and there are only so many that get the opportunity to be reunited every year.
So there you have it, our not-so-secret list of places that are a little absurd or off the beaten path. Let's see if we get to any of them over the next year. Here's to hoping....