That question feature on Instagram (I know it’s annoying) has really opened my eyes as to what people actually want to know. As a blogger, you have these ideas on what would please your readers based on the number of people who click on your posts. But that’s all you’re giving them – maybe they want something else and you’re being a selfish blogger? All the feels. After the introduction of the question feature, I started to get a bit of feedback as to what you actually want to know. It was surprising…
A lot of lifestyle topics and currently, the biggest question is: Why did I choose South Korea?
I’m a little upset that this question has surpassed “What do you do to get your eyebrows like that?” but I understand that everyone must move on at some point. Once a blog post idea enters my head it kinda bounces around for a few days before finding its feet. I also hadn’t really asked myself that question.
Why did I choose South Korea?
South Korea took me by surprise and that doesn’t happen very often. I’d come over to see my sister and I wasn’t really excited to see the country; it was more about seeing my sissy. Once I got here; I was exposed to first-world Asia and it blew me away. It was still rooted in culture but the advancements were just shocking to me. I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve broken it down into points that might (MIGHT) make sense.
People are go-getters
Coming from South Africa (and this is my opinion that you’re welcome to disagree with) I’ve been around negative people for years. South Africans ‘won’ some recent study with being crowned the most negative people in the world. I agree with that, I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve found South Africans to be incredibly negative. Not all, obviously, but a very large amount that I encountered on the daily. It gets you down after a while. Koreans literally pick up their socks and get shit done. They make a life for themselves by working on it from Kindergarten, and the economy is booming as a result. I find it very hard, to sum up, the motivation needed to be successful around negative people. I immediately felt inspired here in South Korea and I constantly feel like I can do more with my life.
There is something here for everyone
If you’re bored here in Korea, it’s from your own doing and it has nothing to do with the country. I don’t think I will ever see the whole of Seoul, no matter how many years I live here. Things are continuously changing and the diversification in that offering is what keeps me here. There are so many things to do here if you only speak English that I can only imagine the epic-ness you’d experience if you were fluent in Korean.
You can be alone here
I know I seem super hyper and social, but it’s not the whole truth. I get very tired of socializing with humans and often prefer not to speak to anyone for days. My dream is to own a cottage in the middle of the forest surrounded by 10 dogs and Lorde Archibald. Instagram works for me because I can reach out vocally, but I can take my time replying and allocate my energy wisely. In Seoul, I can just mission out on my own and just do my thing without being bothered. People might think this is a lonely thought, but I love my own crazy company and South Korea allows me this privilege. People are too busy in their own lives to want to intrude on yours. I like to be left alone.
I can travel on my own
During the last six months in South Africa, I did a lot of local travel on my own. I got into my parents’ new car (thanks mom and dad!) and just went off on my own to various work things. They were all within four hours of home but it was so exciting to be off doing my thing. For the most part, I felt incredibly safe, but I was always vigilant. My parents (being parents) would often stress about me going into the middle of nowhere on my own. Nothing happened to me, but I understood their fears based on the horror stories that reach us almost daily. Being here in Korea, I understand it has its problems, but it’s so far off from the level of crime in South Africa. I still follow a lot of South African news pages and the daily horror stories keep me securely out of the country.
The women in South Korea inspire me
To say I got tired of having to defend myself as a feminist in South Africa is an understatement. The male ego was getting on my nerves and it just made me frustrated not being heard in my own country. I was constantly being labelled a ‘man-hater’ and being told ‘I’ll never find a husband if I continue on this road’. Firstly, why would I want a husband whose ego is so sensitive he can’t handle his own wife being awarded the same rights he experiences? Secondly, it has nothing to do with men! The wage gap and treatment towards women in the workplace in South Africa needs work. I’ve experienced this to an awful degree and I wouldn’t want it experienced by anyone else. Every time I would try starting a conversation about the situation I was patronized and belittled. I found myself not wanting to work in my own country after experiencing this shit again and again.
I needed a break and in South Korea, the women are speaking out and it’s beautiful. Of the population living on their own in this country, 48% of them are women. Women who are owning their shit and making a life for themselves. A lot of them don’t want to get married and are quite happy on their own. These are my type of women; women who are pro-choice in what they want from their own lives. They don’t have a countdown tied around their necks where people constantly ask them when they are getting married and settling down. It’s not perfect here and there is a lot of work to be done, I just preferred the attitude towards it here. Women are being celebrated for speaking out (not by the entire population, of course, but it’s a solid chunk) and I find this environment more pleasing to be in. This is also a more conservative country than South Africa and yet they still smash through the social barriers. It’s inspiring and it’s reignited my own fight.
Life is comfortable here in South Korea
I earn enough to enjoy my life here. I can go away on weekends and plan awesome holidays without crippling myself financially. The National Healthcare system takes care of me and I can afford to get the medical checkups I need. I’ve been spending a lot of my money this year on my health and trying to get all my annual checkups up to date. It costs me a fraction of what I would spend at home. To not be constantly worried about my financial situation is the stress-free environment I needed. My accommodation is covered by my job and my monthly bills are minuscule. It gives me a clear headspace and the freedom to explore other opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to do back home.
My teaching job is not my only income; I do make money from marketing clients and my blog. My passive forms of income immediately go into my savings and I spend what I earn here in Korea for my day-to-day life.
I get a yearlong visa minimum in South Korea
The life of a digital nomad was great for like… a year. I’m 30 in March and to be honest, taking a photo with my laptop on a beach kinda living has expired in my eyes. To be constantly on the move is exciting but it’s also tiring and you never feel like you have two feet on the ground. I’m at that age where I want to have a base and then move from there. I want to be surrounded by my books and drawing pads. Yeah, I’m getting older and I cannot wait for this chapter. Korea offered yearlong visas and that’s enough security for me. I know I can be here without any visa runs etc for a substantial length of time.
My sister is here
Maybe it’s my age, but my family has become front and center in my life. Having a constant back and forth with my folks has never been more important. My siblings are always in my thoughts and it’s been amazing being closer to one of them after several years apart. I can make these memories with family and nothing beats that in my eyes. My sister is my biggest inspiration in many ways and it’s been making me a happier person just being nearer to her. I’ll start running back to South Africa after I publish this post because she hates compliments and will come banging on my apartment door soon. If I go missing – you know why!
So, there you have it! Those are the reasons why I chose South Korea. It definitely took a different turn to how I originally thought it would but these reasons are thought-out and extremely honest.