What I learned from my friend’s visit to Seoul

A friend from home visited me this past week and unknowingly reminded me of some valuable lessons that I could always use a little reminder of.

Sometimes we get stuck seeing only the negative in things and everything is just like this stupid spiral of suckage.

I think this image by Lynn Northrop does the job.


I want to have all that inner growth stuff that I admire about others. And ugh, holy hell is it hard! I’m not even sure that it is really THAT hard to be honest, but I know it’s REALLY EASY NOT TO DO. I am probably an expert at not doing these things.

So he unknowingly pointed out to me that I was just focusing on all the negative aspects. I say unknowingly because it wasn’t a conversation we had where he was like, “hey Scott your being a total negative Nelly.” No, it was because Megan and I were planning for him the best possible trip. We wanted him to make the most out of his four short days in Korea.

As we continued to think of what he should go do, see, eat, and experience in this limited time, our list of things we wanted to share with him got out of control. I mean food alone we were at a loss knowing he could only eat eight meals in Korea.

It was a bit refreshing because it pointed out to us that there are a ton of things we love about living in Seoul. For example I love living 10 minutes away from Bukhansan and having the ability to do morning hikes before work, or that I’m 15 minutes away from Gyeongbokgung, Ghwanghwamun and that whole entire awesome area. I mean I get to photograph all these places all the time in Time-Lapse below like any and every day I want. Seems like a small trivial thing, but it is incredibly cool.

Oh and damn, is the food good and spicy. I mean there are so many Korean dishes that I am just head over heels in love with, jim dak, dak galbi, anything Korean BBQ, dak dori tang, manduguk, hajeongguk, Pajeon, Korea’s fried chicken and beer, the list seriously goes on and on.

Dak Galbi

As we first worried about how he would get around while we were at work it was like oh ya just download the subway app and it’s all in English and easy peasy fresh and squeezy.

As we showed him around our temporary hometown and explored our favorite parts of Seoul, as silly as it seems, it seriously made us fall in love with the city again. It gave us some fresh eyes and really helped us get out of a funk.

Just recently, I had been a real Debbie downer. Some ajashi shushed me on a bus full of loud people, then another told me to uncross my legs on an empty subway, and a mom and kid walked up to me in the street and pointed at me while yelling whaaaa Waegook (foreigner) and just a bunch of other little silly stuff.

But the thing is, for me at least, when I have negative experiences it isn’t just one thing. It’s like one after another. Then I’ll get tunnel vision and just see things that annoy me to no end. Like when every car going every direction is stopped at a red light. What’s up with that?


Via AlmostZara

I don’t know if it’s the law of attraction, but it does seem like the more I focus on the negative sides of things the more I see them! Or maybe it’s like when you buy those awesome new shoes no one has only to walk out of the store and see five people wearing them in the first five minutes. Somehow after we are aware of something we just start seeing it everywhere.


I think I am starting to get more aware of this stuff. I see it like this, we have a choice how we deal with these minor negative things that happen to us in the day. Everytime a local is staring at me because I’m a foreigner, or a family screams whaa waegook at me, or I get singled out and lectured for something everyone else around me is doing; I have two choices. I can do what I normally do, react and think about it all day and talk about it and justify my anger to my friends and co-workers, or just accept it, let it go and move on. Because at the end of the day, did anything productive come of me being super worked up, me feeling super angry and needing some sort of validation that I feel this way and making me want to jam my thoughts and feelings down everyone’s throats? Probably, not.

Now just because I can realize this information right now, definitely doesn’t mean I can magically apply it all willy nilly every time I feel frustrated. I’m guessing it’s like baby steps.

Which is why I like that Lao Tzu quote so much, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”


It’s just a nice humble reminder that to get anywhere in life, you have to take that first step.

So now I am super curious and interested to know if you have any suggestions for things to do when you find yourself with a negative tunnel vision. Got any tips, tricks, links or maybe even your own blog posts on it? If so, I’d love to read them so please leave them in the comment below and have a great day,


Share with someone who may have advice or with someone who could use some. Can't hurt.