We talked about this for years, but only now have we finally made an itinerary. I’m leading a Korea tour! I discovered my passion for showing the real Korea to visitors. That’s how I met my husband Stephen when he was in Seoul five years ago.
This itinerary is for anyone who is interested in learning about Korean culture, eating some of the most delicious Korean food, exploring our fine outdoor destinations, and more. Here are seven reasons why you should travel with me in Korea.
May-June will be a beautiful time. Everything is nice and pleasant this time of the year. There are flowers and the light-green color of young buds, the temperature is just right, the sky is blue; it’s simply great.
I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. I spent most of my life here until I embarked on my career as a travel writer and photographer. When I first traveled overseas 11 years ago, I met people who didn’t know where Korea was. But now Korea is sort of a well-known country, thanks to Gangnam Style, K-POP and TV shows, high-quality electronics and automobiles, and Korean food. It’s an exciting change to experience.
The Seoul I knew and grew up in was a bit different than what you’d know from the pop culture. For me, it’s a place where we can buy a ‘handful’ of vegetable from my grandmother’s friend at a traditional market down from our house. That is real Seoul to me. It’s my passion to introduce the authentic experience to all of you. Come travel with us in May, and you’ll see.
Want to know more about my childhood? Read more on my book “Runaway Juno’s Pursuit of Happiness: The World is Waiting”.
A lot of people have asked me if Korea is same as Japan or China. In some way, yes. Certainly, our history is pretty entangled, and geographically the three countries are located in the same region. But for sure, Japan, China, and Korea all have their own individual traits. Sometimes I find more similarities with Finnish and Korean people than Japanese people. It’s a subject I can talk on and on about for hours. Curious? I will share all about that during the tour!
We carefully curated the itinerary, a mix of culinary and outdoor adventure, traditional and modern life. But most importantly, this itinerary is all about traveling and discovering together. Certainly, I will be the linguistic and cultural interpreter during the trip, and I’m excited to discover more with you. I’ve traveled many parts of this small country but it is truly an extraordinary destination with diverse culture.
My husband Stephen adopted Korean as his second home, very naturally. Sometimes I see he is more Korean than me. He goes to jimjilbang (public bath & sauna house) every week, his love of Korean food stretches as far as mine, and he blends in the culture like it’s meant to be. But of course he has his own challenges, I’m sure. As much as it’s good to learn about my country as a traveler, it’s a joy to see Korea through Stephen’s eyes.
Now I see Korean food everywhere, in the US, Europe, Southeast Asia… Korean snacks are sold at supermarkets, there is at least one Korean restaurant in any neighborhood, and health websites are constantly talking about Korean food. Yes, Korean food is the “It” food now. From the famous kimchi to thousands of kinds of banchan (side dishes), bibimbap to bulgogi, roasted seaweed to barley tea, there are so many aspects of Korean food you’ll love. We will travel to Korea and taste some of the most amazing dishes. I promise you that.
I always thought I was a ‘perpetual backpacker’ at heart. I feel alive when I discover something new. My purpose of travel, finding similarities and differences, rejuvenates my mind. Stephen is one of the travelers I admire. He is a traveler first and foremost. His love of travel led him to blog, publish, and freelance in the travel industry. He’s been to 80+ countries and he’s still going. His favorite way of traveling is to submerge himself in the culture. I’m sure by traveling with us, you’ll learn so much not only about Korea, but also the spirit of independent travel.