All of my adult life, I have been blessed to travel extensively. When my kids were young, my husband and I loaded them up in the van and took marathon road trips. One such trip included stops in Wyoming, Jasper- Canada, Albuquerque-New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Los Vegas-Nevada and Jackson-Mississippi. When my son’s elementary teacher asked him what he did over the summer, he said, nothing. Arrrrg! 

In choosing where to go, there have been a few places that called out to me: Venice Italy, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, Morocco and now Seoul. I’ve just returned from one of the most beautiful birthday months I’ve ever experienced visiting Seoul South Korea. Here are some highlights. At the Gyeongbokgung Palace, I was transported to ancient history. K-dramas I watched about the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) came to life. Many people rented traditional attire to walk the grounds. I shocked myself by not needing to do this. 

We ate traditional barbecue at a restaurant called Duruchigilove-Jeon, according to the translator on my phone. We tried to get one order. A Korean man from England had to do cultural interpretation for us. He let us know that in these settings 2 orders minimum is required. One of the things I love most about travel is understanding the customs and social norms of others. My position is: get with the people. In as much as is possible, conform, rather than complain. 

The War Memorial of Korea was a huge museum. Fully loaded with genuine war ships, planes, and missiles. There were historic artifacts and written war accounts. Visiting there was beautiful, haunting, and educational. Also, I think there was great appreciation toward the U.S. for our contribution to their development as a country. 

 I could go on to talk about the intersectionality of the food: how African American soldiers shared fried chicken recipes with the Korean soldiers (modern fried chicken is big here) or how the “boy bands” and girls have been influenced by African-American Hip-Hop. It’s all good. I loved this trip and would return in a minute; especially if my niece Gabri wants to come for a BTS concert.