…and how my fear of China brought me to this trip.
I’m super pumped to share with all of you my Spring 2018 travel plans.
In two months time, I will be taking on:
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Seoul, South Korea
As some of you may know, I outlined South Korea as a must-visit destination before I turn 30. I have done an immense amount of research into Seoul, brushed up on my K-pop and have been to more Korean BBQ places then I can name. While planning my first trip to Asia, South Korea was always a contender. So naturally Seoul, South Korea was an obvious addition to my itinerary this time around.
But let’s not forget the first part of my trip — Taipei, Taiwan. Now, some of you may not jump to Taipei as a first choice Asian destination, but hear me out on this…
After returning from my 3-week Japan trip in August 2017, I was immediately hit with this overwhelming attachment to the eastern hemisphere. The number of times I chose Asian cuisine over any other fare in my own city, naturally tripled. I annoyed the hell out of my friends with my newly minted knowledge and I constantly daydreamed of hopping on the next flight back to the land of the rising sun. I needed more. I needed something bigger. But being in school with limited funds and time limits my options. I dragged my cursor across Google maps for hours when I finally feasted my eyes on the beast that is China. It is everything I could ask for in a travel destination; Cheap, Big and Asian.
I jumped right in; looking into the visa process, costs of travel, timelines etc. All of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with compiling this beast of a trip. I would wake up in the middle of the night trying to wrap my head around how I was going to make this all work. China is a big country and there is no shortage of things to do and see. Being a part-time worker, I’m barely even entitled to taking two weeks off at a time. Squeezing the best of China into 12 days seemed like a nearly impossible task.
I came to the conclusion that I was not yet ready for China.
I scraped any foundation of the itinerary and took a week to clear my mind. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t make China workout and felt like a failure. If I was stressing out this much creating the trip, how would I be when I actually got there? How could go anywhere else?
I think it goes to show just how inexperienced I am in the travel world. But that is ok. That is what this blog is about; finding my footing and bringing you all along with me on that journey.
I had to start small.
Japan seemed less intimidating because of the passion I had for the history and culture. I almost decided to go back at of pure comfort until I scrolled far enough south of Japan to see a small little island called Taiwan.
After numerous Quora articles and hours on Wikipedia, the tiny province was sold to me as being China and Japan’s baby half-brother. I was immediately engaged in the countries history — beginning with early natives, Japanese imperialism and its current political position as a province of China — my infatuation vigorously blossomed. Along with an interesting history, I learned that Taiwan is home to some of the best street food culture Asia has to offer and Taipei, the capital, was an enormous hub for culture, innovation, and business. That same feeling I had when I first toyed with visiting Asia started to creep back at me. So I went with it.
There is no question that Taiwan is an underdog in comparison to other Asian destinations, but that is what I like about it and that is surely what adventure is about. A challenge to discover the undiscovered, uncover the unknown and to share it with the world.
Stay tuned for future posts on how I built my itinerary with both cities, booking the flight, my budget, and packing list. Also, upon return, you can bet I will have a plethora of knowledge for you in the form of video, audio, and full-blown written guides.
If you have any suggestions, must-visit places and off the beaten path destinations for both Seoul and Taipei, please comment below or find me on social media!