Korea: Off the Beaten Path | Gina Chong

I hesitated sharing this for my Travel Tuesday post because I didn't know if anyone would be interested? Today I'm not sharing any famous sites or travel tips, just my experience off the beaten path in Korea. Check out my last two Korea posts here and here.

Since it was my mom's first time visiting in six years, we spent most of our time with family in her hometown. Can I tell you exactly how I'm related to all of the people in these photos? Nope. And I actually can't even tell you any of their names because you don't call your elders by their names, just address them as samchon (uncle) or imo (aunt). When I was younger I actually hated visiting my mom's hometown because back then it was the same as a house you'd find in a folk village. Low rooms with sliding doors surrounding a courtyard, no modern toilet or AC, no nearby stores, and just one tiny TV that my brothers always claimed for themselves. On top of that, I didn't speak Korean, never knew what was going on, and overall was constantly confused and bored. Such a drastic change from today. Now there's a modern brick house with all the comforts I've been accustomed to, and although there are still some language and culture barriers that make me quite awkward, I absolutely loved visiting with my family this time. My one auntie (the one peeling the apples) is the most cheerful person I've ever met, my uncle is more reserved but would do anything if I asked him to, and I loved hanging out with my cousin at the sauna and being in on her secret boyfriend (she told me her parents knew but they totally didn't ha). What a difference all these years plus a Korean education have made in opening my eyes to these beautiful people.

Do you guys have any stories from wandering off the beaten path?

P.S. The last photo is with one of my oldest friends who was living in Korea at the time teaching English with her hubby! Love running into people when traveling.


  1. I can totally relate to this post - a lot of my summers when I was kid was spent in Japan in a small town meeting an endless stream of relatives, etc. But luckily my grandparents house was quite modern even back in the days - they had a Western toilet in the house! ;)

  2. I like the shot of everyone watching the game and laughing.

    I also liked to play badminton but I never was that great at it! :)


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