When I got home from my long trip, dad's first question to me was if I ever felt lonely.
"Nainip ka ba?"
Okay to be honest, this is one of the easiest questions I always receive when it comes to solo traveling. Nothing compares to the feeling I get whenever I am in Korea for my solo adventures. Anti-anxieties pill ko siya.
I get up sooo excited for a new day! I end the day tired but accomplished. I never run out of new things to do or cities to explore. Actually, I think the bigger challenge to me is my country of choice.
I realized that Korea is not the most solo traveler friendly country. Yes, it is a generally safe place for women that's why I have little worries whenever I commute intercity, or go home late. But there are other things that I observed: First is when it comes to dining.
Most Korean restaurants cater groups. Think samgyupsal. I cannot imagine heading to a bbq resto alone, unlike in Japan where they have Ichiran's popular solo booths. I also encountered restos with minimum orders. Imagine dining alone but you have to order for two persons, haha!
I also had a conversation with Marc, a Filipino who works in Korea for around 3 years now. I opened this topic to him, saying that the hardest part for me is finding where I should eat next. I always end up in either a cafe where they usually only serve cakes and sweet pastries (huhu), or convenience stores.
Went to my go-to breakfast place: Paris Baguette. Coz I am super sure they have savory options and not just sweets!
Marc said that most Koreans will prefer going out with at least one friend with them. Going out solo is a bit weird to them, haha!
So imagine what I felt when I showed my Klook voucher for One Mount Snow Park, an indoor winter themed park! I thought that I should visit a snow festival since it's winter time, but decided to settle for this instead of going to an actual ski resort because:
b) Travel time is too long and tour rates are expensive for something I've done naman na before (2-3 hours by bus)
and c) I am sure it is possible naman but personally a snow park looks like one of those things that I am so intimidated to go to alone--along with a noraebang (karaoke room) and pojangmacha (soju tent).
Commute to One Mount Snow Park is also a bit long, but at least I only needed to take the Seoul Subway to get here (Juyeop Station)!
I always have second thoughts whenever I encounter this bar of soap haha!
The walk to One Mount Snow Park from the train station will take around 15 to 20 minutes (depends on your pace), but the pathway is just so beautiful that I don't mind at all!
I am still amazed by Seoul City. They have tall buildings and beautiful parks. Modernization and culture preservation. And how can a place be so pretty whether the skies are blue or the clouds decided to show up and turn it into a gloomy day?
Finally reached One Mount Snow Park. Aside from the skating rink, they also have a water park just next to it but with separate entrance fee.
Again, an awkward moment for this solo trip was when the ticket person asked me, "For one?" Haha! But then again, maybe it's just me and so I replied, "Yes for one!" before heading in, catching myself skipping a little bit, giddy for what's in stored for me that day.
The reviews weren't lying, One Mount Snow Park is small and marketed for the young ones! 50% of the guests are kids, and 99% are locals (the 1% is me haha)! Nevertheless, these are things that made the travel and visit worth it:
1) This is a distinct shooting location for Kdrama Love Alarm!
2) I was able to try dog sledding for the first time, and it's so cool! And anything related to dogs makes me insta-happy!
3) They have magic shows and musical performances onstage, but what entertained me the most was when the lights dimmed, and suddenly there was beautiful snowfall, Frozen II's Into The Unknown blasted on the venue's speakers! Super magical!
I think I conquered some of my solo traveling fears in just a day! Through language barriers and spotting a churros stand for "lunch", at least I was able to go and enjoy a theme park alone. I even took pictures in a photo booth! Akala ko it will be so awkward to do this by myself, but it's actually fun + mas madali umaura pag walang nakekeelam diba! Haha!
This leads us to the last challenge of solo traveling in Korea and anywhere else in the world: Who will take my pictures?
1) Self-timer - This is my ultimate go-to! I just place my mirrorless camera on a flat surface, usually on top of my bag para may onting tilted angle. If nakaka hiya mag camera or wala din mapapatungan na stable, I compromise quality and just use my phone with a small foldable tripod.
2) Ask a Stranger - There are locations na masyado mababa yun papatungan, or daanan ng tao or kotse, so I just ask a random passerby to take my picture for me. Bihirang bihira to coz I am usually shy! Hehe!
Make sure to instruct them na of the framing and angle you prefer, or just take a risk "basta may picture". Haha! And also, if you see someone na naka camera rin most prob they have photo skills! Favorite ko din to ask couples coz most prob they might want a picture together, too! So offer to take their photos rin after they took yours.
3) Mirror portrait shot - My final straw before resorting to the low quality, front camera selfie! Minsan mirror shots can even be artsy!
Not the best angle, but sometimes--just for memory's sake--basta may isang souvenir shot okay na ako. ❤
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𝟐/𝟐𝟎: Although it is winter time here in Seoul, I decided to do away with winter festivals as I still find it hard to imagine myself skiing or sledding alone! 😅 (but, as usual, I am not closing my doors! 😄) Then, I discovered Onemount Snow Park, an indoor winter-themed park just a train away from my place. 𝘐𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘯𝘰𝘸, 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦! ☃️❄️ #LoveAlarm #koreanagon #anagonvacation #20DaysInKorea