Hello, You. Seoul. My first travels. As funny like how everyone won’t forget their first love... you are mine.
I won’t have met you if not for my brother and cousin. And I’m glad we met. I was such an observer back then. With little to no plans when it comes to traveling. It was 6 years ago, and we are all young, wild and free. Time flies and chains of responsibilities grew onto many of us. And with some of us gone, changed, for better or for worse.
I’m writing to you now with my window slightly opened, as I take in the last of Jeju’s winter breath before she disappear into the twilight at dawn. The chilly air was bizarrely comforting and quiet as the lofi white noise danced across the hall of the living room. I love how I get a room to myself in this apartment, as the hermit in me gets to do poetry at the comfort of his space. The abyss floats above the ocean along the horizon, as the street lights stayed quiet. There’s no chirping, no buzzing, no signs of life out there except the tap of my fingers. It is as if the winter had frozen the time-space, but the clock’s still ticking. I have to go, soon, and I know I have to.
In 2020, I started my year in the skies, finding a home in somewhere I never thought I’ll belong, as my heart finds warmth in Dubai. I made friends, found inspirations for art projects, and list plans that I’ll hopefully follow and not let depression win this time. And now my travel journey will be full circle as I am returning to the arc of you, Seoul, my first.
Like my first, you gave me so many first. My first photography project where I photograph candid subjects in their most natural state. The series of departure that kickstarted RALAPIPO (People of). You made me fell in love with traveling, to start trying new food that wasn’t registered in my taste buds, to speak to people and transcend language barriers. You gave me strength as I conquered Bukhansan and fell in love with hiking. You made me want more. And I can’t wait to have more of the world.
And though I’ll see you at the last leg of my trip, it won’t be the last. I’ll continue striving, hustling, I’ll find ways to write, to inspire and to continue traveling again as I try to find fragments of me lost across cities and towns of places that I haven’t been. As if the future me had time traveled and hid them all over the world, waiting for me to discover parts of me that I never know I’ll discover. This time I’ll set myself free. And I can’t wait.
To see you again.