It’s getting colder here in Korea, autumn is turning into winter so while in Buyeo I made a little video for one alternative way to stay warm. Watch that then I’ll tell you how I got there.
There is one slight downside of not having a defined plan as to where to go. The problem is that you make fairly random decisions to go to places and then find out that where your trying to get to is not a simple journey or the journey takes a really long time. My friend Hally in Thailand mentioned that he thinks I am trying to punish myself somehow by taking on these epic journeys. It was in Thailand where I have been in this situation before, eventually catching a few hours sleep outside on a bench at a train station and now (not as bad) more epic journeys in Korea.
I was trying to decide where to go next and have found minimal hostel accomodation on Hostelworld in the next place I thought I should go so I looked around a bit more. In a small town of Buyeo there was a Hostel International hostel so I booked two nights there after figuring out I can get there by two buses. This morning I prep everrything and get to the bus station, I had gleemed information from the visit korea website and wikitravel. Korea can be a bit odd when it comes to bus travel, they sometimes have more than one bus major station one for intercity and one for express which can be hugely confusing. Sometimes the bus stations can be at opposite ends of the city as well. After finding the right bus station in Jeonju (luckily they are close together) I jump on a bus to the city of Daejeon. There I intend to change buses as directed to get to my destination of Buyeo. At Daejeon bus station using a mixture of sign language and pointing they tell me that there is no direct bus and I must go to a place called Gongju. I panic a little and tell them I will be back.
This is where being a good resourceful traveller comes into play. When your trying to get to a place and you don’t speak the language it’s good to at least have the destination of the place written down in the native dialect. I have taken to not relying on my handwriting or the internet but using screenshots because they consume less power and can be accessed without internet. The other plan I usually employ at this point in time is find a hotel or police station or coffee shop and see if I can find either a WiFi signal to confirm it’s the right place or someone who spoke enough English to help me. I put coffee shop last on that list because in Korea at least a good 80% don’t really understand English and I have had better results from hotels. Okay you make a bit of a nuisance of yourself doing this but this is something I have had to overcome, which is not easy for me as I love to be independant and not rely on people. Relying on people makes me quite uncomfortable (yes my counsellor has a field day wih this) but nowhere near as uncomfortable as when I feel like I am totally lost and feel like I am going in the wrong direction.
I get to Gongju and then change buses again and get into Buyeo, finding the hostel after again using a coffee shop to get a WiFi signal to let google maps orientate itself then I can work it out from there. So I got to where I wanted to go, okay it took some time, okay there was a bit of stress but I got there and you know what? The stress actually brings me something, a sense of achievement if you like, despite the elements against me I still got there. This is just the way I travel and actually quite enjoy these epic journeys, they give me time to think, time to write and a sense of achievement and even pride when I get there. I realise this might make me abnormal from others who like to just have it easy and get ushered from one mode of transport to the other but for me that is potentially hell.
By the time you read this I should be (and am) at my next destination, a place called Sokcho. Yet another epic journey to some place far away from the norm which takes me into the capital of Seoul and then out again further north, my estimate is four to five hours on three busses.