Here's the full story I wrote about the Dordogne shortly after meeting la famille de Commarque about 8 years ago.
The transformation from outsider to denizen within any foreign land can be gradual, sometimes hard-won. Certainly, embedding in the fascinating, unfamiliar culture of South Korea is no exception. Our very own Segment Producer Lindsay McEwen walks us through her subtle yet profound metamorphosis over three years teaching English as a second language in Seoul. This lovely feature kicks off Native Traveler's full hour exploring South Korea—just in time to inspire those contemplating a visit to the 2018 Winter Olympic in Pyeongchang. 즐기세요 (enjoy)!
Lindsay's Korea Snapshots
Other places may make the claim, but Seoul is truly the city that never sleeps. Everywhere people are walking, running, talking, laughing, eating. LCD billboards flash with fluid colour like digital oil slicks. Punchy Korean pop ballads blare from open shop doors. Old women shout to one another over sidewalk fruit stalls. Metro trains thunder overhead and rumble underfoot. Cars and buses whip past at breakneck speed, scooters threading their way recklessly between the bigger vehicles and stirring up a flurry of horns in their wake. Every sight and sound adds to the hum of energy and urgency that seems to permeate this city.
Fresh off the plane and entirely alone, I am overwhelmed. No amount of research could have prepared me for the reality of the situation now facing me—an entire year living and working in this heaving, flashing beast of a metropolis.
Check out this Lonely Planet South Korea travel guide:
The South Korean government created more than 3000 kilometres of new bike paths in the last few years—now among the best in the world. Here's more from National Geographic Traveler:
In a travel realm fixated on the most posh, the most remote, the most insider, the most bucket-list worthy—we liked the idea of revisiting that universal moment when the yearn to discover the world first mattered... and what that looks like today. Here's to those planning their first epic journey, and to all the rest of us who remember that first no-plans, no-strings, no-limits walkabout like we remember our first kiss. Afterward, we knew we'd never be the same.
Don's Post WWII Ride-About Europe
Manifesto of a Traveling Homebody:
Go far. Slow Down.
Experience the World More Deeply.
It's the rhythms and rituals of home I love, wherever, whatever they may be. In Brimstone, my hamlet northwest of Toronto, it might be summer river swims with a Zenned-out fly fishermen casting nearby, or dinners at the 200-year-old Cellar Pub where host Brian bear hugs each patron like an old friend, startling those who aren't. In Saint-Julien-de-Lampon, in southwest France, it might be collecting walnuts mid-October with some elderly villagers who've harvested the same forest floor most of their lives. In Goondiwindi, Australia, I think of gulping a frosty XXXX at the Victoria Hotel, our day’s work on a 15,000-acre sheep station done.
Insights, habits, and simple pleasures; where people eat, work, shop, ponder, court, and celebrate — I love these details that connect locals (and me) to where they live. Their issues and crusades too. It's the heroic and everyday stuff that propels local life. Deeper than attractions (which one needn’t miss), all these are the heartbeats that define “home”. And whenever I slow down long enough to hear them and slip into their simple rhythms (even briefly) something magical happens — I transform from traveler to denizen, from stranger to neighbor, from tourist to global citizen.
In a world where one can explore travel bucket lists with the click of a mouse, live-local travel to me focuses on the most important and memorable part of actually being there — the human connections. And what better way to find the common bits of our humanity, from Pittsburg to Peru, from Toronto to Takayama, than to grasp our many notions of home. Like a famous Dorothy once said, “There’s no place like home.” To which I’d add just this — wherever you are.