When in Gyeongju... Glamp!
I came to Korea with little plans and little expectation, but soon after settling in, it really hit me that my life is a funny equation of dreams, execution, God's magic, and serendipity. Now, I can't control the latter two, but I definitely have say over my dreams and how to make them happen. I never had a dream to come to South Korea, for instance, but I did have a dream to teach English abroad. Now that I'm in this beautiful country, I think it's best I see as much of it as I can.
I probably put a little too much stress on myself initially to get out there and make friends, but rightfully so, in my opinion. I know how quickly time moves, especially if you're, like, a nomad. Sometimes routine doesn't last that long and you only have this experience, during this time, to feel these feelings. So one day I told my black ass to get up out of bed and actually attend one of the Facebook events I almost always click *Going* for, but never actually go. The event in question was a casual brunch potluck for and by some foreigners in my town - it was also in my neighborhood, so more reason not to stay in bed watching Vampire Diaries (*cue evil smirk*). So I went to the brunch with no expectations save for the idea that the eggs would probably be under-seasoned (because nobody makes eggs like my mommy), and was more than pleasantly surprised. We're talking about a diverse group of humans from all walks of life, most a tad older than me having lived in Korea longer than me - but I connected with them. They were witty, silly, smart, real; all the makings of good people to be around. This same group had planned a trip to Gyeongju the following weekend for a weekend of glamping. What is glamping, you ask? "The hell if I know," was my sentiment prior to this trip (or coming to Korea in general. I guess the New Yorker in me has no concept of country living, haha). Glamping is simply glamorous + camping. You've got a tent so you feel, you know, hardcore and whatnot, but you're sleeping on an actual bed with a bed warmer and there's electricity and all that jazz.
Our group of 10 left Changwon at the ripe time of 11:20am on Saturday and made our way about 1.5 hours northeast of Changwon to Gyeongju. I am told Gyeongju's historical sites are beautiful and worth a visit, which I will probably do in warmer weather. Considering I brought a large backpack full of body-heating paraphernalia not knowing that would be provided at the glampsite (?), there was no way I'd want to lug that around while visiting temples, palaces, and sculptures. So, another time then, I resolved.
After a quick bite, the group separated into three taxis and we were off to Healing Camp, a remote camping location in the hilly hills of Gyeongju. A special thanks to our group leader, Michael, for organizing the trip and accommodations, because when we got to the site, we were able to head right to our tents, no lollygagging.
At this point it was about 2:00pm and cold as ever, so after a brief photo session (uh, duh), we decided, hey, why not pop open the Cap'n Morgan and Coke and warm ourselves up? We also all huddled together in one of the three tents playing Cards Against Humanity (Trump version included), with the gas heater on full blast of course. After learning a bit more about how cynical and perverted everyone's senses of humor were (that game will bring out the best in ya, I'm telling you), the group kind of split into two, and the drinking continued. The rest of the night included beer and soju, Korean BBQ (삼겹살), and probably the longest running game of Never Have I Ever to date. You know it was a blast.
Because I can't hang and should really stop mixing my alcohol, I fell asleep at around 9:30pm while the others partied like it was 1992 (JK, I think most went to sleep around an hour later, haha). What is proper sleep, though, when the winds of the wilderness knock up against your tent incessantly and jar you from slumber every four minutes? There happened to be an earthquake about 30 minutes from Gyeongju just last week, so I know some of us glampers were scared as to whether the earth under us would crack. I'm not lying, y'all - it really felt like we were in a twister, but I like to say that added to the adventure of it all - the crazy windiness coupled with the breathtaking still and starry night sky upon exiting the tent just to ensure you hadn't actually been transported to New Zealand in the Earth's fit of rage.
The next morning was like any other - wake up, freshen up, make some breakfast ramen for you and your pals, have girl chat (men included) on the bed while awaiting your taxis, head back to the bus station, eat McDonald's for lunch (my tum is still fighting with me on that, haha), and roll on back to Changwon.
I truly loved everything about my glamping excursion in Gyeongju. Can't wait to do it again - probably when the weather warms up and I'm safe from natural disasters, haha. Have you been glamping before? What was your experience like?