DRIFTING ABOUT

A camera, pen and paper, and an iced latte in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.

Today was perfect. My mission was to get desperately lost in Seoul, and that’s exactly what I did. Lost in thought. Lost in place. Lost in time.

Even though I wanted to venture solo, I randomly bumped into one of my former co-teachers along the way. Goes to show I’ll never fully be alone no matter where I go, or how hard I try.

Today I simply existed. I walked slowly up unchartered backstreets—as if I had no particular place to be, but every space I hadn’t been. I took time to taste the afternoon, to smell all it had to offer, and to see and/or hear the lessons it wanted to share.

The scent of lilac drifted about Hongdae. I was reminded of the house I grew up in, and how every spring my family enjoyed sniffing one of nature’s finest fragrances. We had a large lilac bush in our backyard.

The recognizable smell brought a smile to my face, but my memories faded as two people puffing cigarettes outside a convenience store tainted the sweet smell of spring with their breath.

But there it was again, a familiar hint. This time leading my nostrils to a woman wearing perfume. I had smelled it before, but where? Another time. Another place. Not here or there. So, why care?

I watched the menagerie outside, from an open window at Zoo Coffee in Gangnam. A little boy entertained himself with a piece of paper on the ground. He stepped on, dragged, and kicked it around. I observed how his mother let him, and I was so pleased she did. It’s the little things that count.

I've decided if there’s an option to always get the largest sandwich. Savor each bite, and end every meal with cheesecake. Why not?

The barista at Zoo Coffee drew me a map of how to get to my next destination, making this stop—cheesecake and all—a necessary part of my journey.

Does this day have to end? Not entirely. There are aspects I can carry with me every day. Just to be. Fully in a moment, lost in thought and unexpectedness, with nothing but a camera (or three), pen and paper, and an iced latte alongside.

Take time to get lost. Drift about. Explore, study details and take notes. It’s good for the soul.

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