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Goodbye Korea

I left Korea, or especially Gyeongju , in tears. After a goodbye-thing with a few friends, I got on the bus to Incheon International Airport.

Leaving Gyeongju ,through the city’s tollgate-thing, brought a new set of tears. Korea has been part of my life for three years, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful school, great students (well…some of them), the best co-workers, the most amazing friends, millions of experiences and tons of great memories…needless to say, but by the time I got on the plane I was seriously dehydrated.

I arrived at the airport a few minutes before check-in. I stood in line for at least 25minutes and got the front to check in and pay for my baggage. Take note – when you fly with AirAsia and you know you are checking in baggage, pay for this online, you’ll save SO MUCH money! I had to pay $100 for 11kg, for both flights. If I have arranged this online I would have paid about $40. So I got to the payment counter, counted my money and shorted only $10. I walked to the ATM machine, got the money and paid.

In my head I thought I’m well on time. I just have to make another trip to the ATM, get all the money from my account (because I can’t use my Korean Debit Card in another country), exchange Won for Dollar, go through the security check, immigration, grab a quick shower, take the subway-airport-train to the other side of Incheon airport and then I’ll be at my gate, ready to board.

Wishful thinking.

Something happened somewhere. I lost a huge amount of money and I still don’t know how. The exchange bank lady called the Engineer to check the ATM, he couldn’t find anything wrong. The exchange bank lady checked her transactions for the day and the money in her register…and that matched. While all this happened I nervously eyed the huge line waiting for the security check.

I left, without my money and waited in line. Luckily the line moved kind of fast and I took the chance to take a quick 5 minute shower. Got on the subway-aiport-train and made it to the gate just in time.

When I got on the plane I haven’t slept in about 29hours…this zombie was ready to pass out! Did I get any sleep? No! I sat next to a Malaysian Chatterbox, telling me about her Korean boyfriend, Malaysia and just talking crap. I’m tired, I’m irritated, I’m confused about the money, I’m still kind of emotional about leaving…this girl needs to shut up now! But she didn’t. I “uhmmm” and “aahhed” without making any eye contact, I took out a book…but she still blabbered about who knows what. Eventually, after I pretended to sleep, she took the hint and took a nap. When she woke up she stroked my arm and rested her head on my shoulder …now look, I’m all for being friendly, but this girl doesn’t know any social limits! I pulled my arm away and turned my back on her yet again. For the rest of the flight (5hours) she stroked my arm about 3 more times, bought me a Milo drink and gave me some Lip Balm she got from the Duty Free shop. All too weird for me! When I reached Malaysia I walked as fast as I could on my two short legs and lost her somewhere in the immigration line.

Luckily I had no trouble at the airport in Malaysia, made it to Bali, got my Visa on Arrival and made it safe and sound to the hotel. After almost 2 days with no sleep, I passed out and slept like a baby! I woke up the next morning and realised that I’m jobless and homeless…this realisation made me quite happy and beyond excited!

Now I’m ready for the next Adventure!

Profile photo of Anje Rautenbach

The craziness and desire to travel started from a very young age. I went from the backseat of my parents' VW kombi to leaving South Africa in 2009 to explore South Korea and the rest of Asia.I picked up the travel bug quite fast - the unknown intrigued me and I got mesmerised by different smells, cultures, food, languages and adventures. I explored beautiful places around Asia, ate delicious Asian food, got food positioning countless times, collected Asian beer cans, did a two month cycle trip in Indonesia, fell in love with bicycle touring, studied Indonesian, taught English, ticked off items on my bucket list, added items to my bucket list, filled up a passport, met locals, lived like a local, CouchSurfed, got tattoos and developed a personal mantra to "dream, explore & discover".I tried to be professional, with a decent eight-to-five job in South Africa as a copy writer, but with a serious case of wanderlust, everlasting itchy feet and an adventurous heart to explore the unknown...I quit my job. My bicycle, panniers and passport are luring me away daily from the safe and familiar into a wandering journey, never a destination.

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