spending the weekend “high as a kite…”

This weekend, I had a first time opportunity to go paragliding in SK! It was, by FAR, the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had. It was well worth the post-gliding bruises and TWELVE hours of bus travel time within 36 hours.

I traveled first to Seoul by bus on Saturday morning to spend the day and be there for the early morning trip. I was lucky enough to go with my good friend, Kaylee (who is my favorite South Aftican) and my KBFF (Korean BFF), Brianna. We arrived in Seoul by the early afternoon, checked in to our not-so-fantastic overnight accommodations, and set out to explore the city. We had lunch, walked around the super-trendy and adorable Itaewon neighborhood, and had dessert and the even MORE adorable Tartine Bakery. Later, Kaylee met up with some friends of hers that had traveled separately and Brianna and I went to meet her friend, Jeong Eun. The three of us went to a cute coffee/wine bar, had a drink, chatted (where B played the translator, as I don’t speak enough Korean and Jeong Eun doesn’t speak enough English!), and then went to see the original main city gate at the heart of the city. Eventually, we said our “good nights” and headed back to our hostel for the evening. The next morning came WAY too early…

B and I were awake just after 5 AM to get ready and met Jeong Eun, Kaylee and her group by 7 AM. We then spent the next 3 hours travelling (again by bus!) to Anmyeondo Island for the big event. When we arrived, we had a picnic lunch and were given a quick, fool-proof crash course in how to successfully paraglide. Within a half hour, we, along with the thirty other people we had made the trip with, were in the air.

My second flight.

My second flight.

The coolest part about this whole experience was that we did it ALONE. There was no “tandem” going on. Basically, three people stand behind you to throw up the parachute so it will catch the wind. Then you start running as hard as you can until your feet are no longer touching the ground. If you catch the wind just right, you’re literally more than 100 feet from the ground. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, I highly recommend paragliding!

I was lucky enough to get three flight chances. My first wasn’t too bad; my second was awesome; and my third was the best yet. I flew farther and higher than any other time, cutting through some tree saplings before landing. We also discovered there was a random cow hanging out at the end of the valley after a few of us landed a good fifty feet or so from her. :)

To top off the trip, we endured another three hour bus ride back to Seoul, only then to board ANOTHER bus back to Daegu. NINE HOURS of travel in one day! Needless to say, I was ready to be back in my own bed by the time I got home. I was thankful to the cabbie that literally SPED the whole way home.

So, to summarize, it was a weekend of great fun. And, to top it off, here’s a list of my favorite 10 things:

1. Pretty much everything is better in Korea. Except for always having to pre-heat hot water. And not having a dryer. And not being able to find good sandwiches or Mexican food…

2. Traveling by bus in Korea is far more comfortable than traveling by train. Sure, it takes a bit longer, but you’ll sleep better on the bus; believe it or not!

3. Koreans driving cars do whatever they want: park on the sidewalk, turn around in the middle of the street; speed like they’re trying to escape the police. That last one was especially true of the cab driver that took me home late last night…

4. Note to self: While ALL transportation cards will work and can be charged for bus/subway fares in all Korean cities, you can’t recharge them in all cities… So, either charge your subway keychain before leaving home or don’t forget your Seoul subway card, ya big dummy…

5. Never enter a Korean public bathroom without being armed with tissue in your bag. There’s always the chance there won’t be any when you really need it…

6. Apparently, it doesn’t matter what country you’re from, there are still people who act like complete idiots 95% of the time and who may make you embarrassed to be in your twenties or just make you embarrassed that humans act and speak the way they do.

7. It never hurts to ask.

8. When packing for a weekend trip, it’s good to remember your toothbrush and pajamas. It’s bad to forget extra underware…

9. Never fear. There will always be a coffee shop within walking distance of your current location.

10. Making a plan is one thing; not sticking to the plan is entirely different… For example, we nearly missed the bus on Saturday morning because I thought 45 minutes would be enough time to get across town. We left 5-10 minutes late, and 45 minutes is NEVER enough time to get across town. Um, HELLO, KRISTINE?! Finally, when it really matters, I nearly have us there too late. I may have finally learned my lesson… Let’s hope, anyway!

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