While my dad was stationed in Korea, it was there when he met my mom. Couple of years later, I was born [a long time ago] in Seoul. Less than a year later, all of us were heading back to the U.S., and my mother and I haven’t been back since.
I’m not sure why through the decades that I never thought about going to visit. I’ve traveled a bunch, visiting Kenya [where my wide is from], Turkey, Romania, Morocco, Dubai, Germany, and so on; but Korea never seemed to reach the top of my list of destinations. It was my wife who brought it up one day, asking if I ever wanted to visit the land where I was born. And, literally, not a single thought passed through my neurons. I didn’t think yes; I didn’t think no. It simply never crossed my mind.
A seed was planted. Knowing so little about Korea that it was no different than Estonia or Turkmenistan, I started reading a few books about it. How this tiny half of a peninsula went from third world to one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world. How they accomplished this, not through military might or vast amounts of natural resources, but through K-Pop and a single-mindedness of the citizens to make Korea what it is today.
The seed has started to sprout. We’ve had several conversations of how to and when to make a trip there. With my mom of course, who hasn’t seen her family [other than her younger brother visiting her in America once] in more than four decades.
Her family is from Busan. When she left, it was a village, in her mind at least, but now it’s a metropolis with nearly 5 million residents. Seoul, where my dad was stationed, however, has grown exponentially to a metro area of nearly 25 million people, roughly half the country’s population. And I want to meet them. Finally.
And one way to get reacquainted with my place of birth is to tour every inch of land I can on my two wheels.