A lesson from today

I fancy myself a well-travelled gal. I have been to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia and North America. But today I realized that I’m kind of in a bubble.

I live in Seoul and I never learned how to drive because it was not necessary. I could go anywhere without a car. If anything, you’re better off without a car.

Seoul has very advanced public transit, although it can still use some improvement. Subways and buses come every 5-10 minutes, if that, and you can see when the bus is going to arrive at your stop on the bus stop screen or your phone app. That is the kind of system I was used to.

Today I went to a piano concert in Gapyeong and the venue was far from Seoul. It was a resort that was kind of remote. My family went there in a car but I had to join them later.

I asked my trusted Naver Map app how I can get there. And followed the route. It was gonna be a long journey but I thought I totally knew what I was doing. It wasn’t until I got to the 3rd bus transfer that I realized I didn’t. The bus that I was supposed to take comes once in every 130(!) minutes, and bus arrival information was not available. The bus stop was in the middle of the road; I didn’t think I could get taxi there. I was so, so lost. I panicked and called my dad, and he came in his car to get me.

In retrospect, I could have taken the next arriving bus that would have taken me to some town and gotten a taxi there.uu But at that moment, I was so shook that I couldn’t think it through. I waited 30 minutes under the summer heat until my dad came to rescue.

As I rode in my father’s automobile I thought of all the places I’ve been to. NYC, Paris, Ho Chi Min, Frankfurt… They are all major cities. I may not have been in a Korean bubblr but I was definitely in a metropolis bubble.

I thought I was all that because I could go places by myself by navigating my way through public transit system. I just learned that I can’t do anything without that infrastructure. It has never once occurred to me that that is not always easily available.

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