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Destination Seoul, (a.k.a. AwesomeTown)

 I’m at Incheon Airport now, (one of the nicest airports on the planet, BTW), trying to avoid the Duty Free rabbit hole and stick to my plan to do a massive beauty edit when I get home. (I did get a few things… let’s not be crazy. I’ll share my Fall mini-haul and manifesto on simple living later. Sounds contradictory but it’s not.

But I digress. I’ve been in Seoul for the past week doing some med-spa facial stuff (I’m hiding from the camera for a few days… please luxuriate in the selfie break on my Instagram!). Gangnam is the beauty capital of the planet and they are on the pulse of the latest, newest, safest, and most effective skin treatments. So my skin is a bit sore (and swollen– very glad for medical mask acceptance in Asia right now!). But preventive skincare is so key to not being tempted to go under the knife… so it’s a little painful and pricey, but in the long run it’s worth it.

Here are a few things I love about Seoul, and why it’s the perfect little getaway from Tokyo.

Garosugil: What a find! A super cute European-style neighborhood smack in the middle of Seoul. The food, the vintage, the vibe… all lovely and laid back and very up my alley. I spent a lot of time here.

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The necklace is a 1960’s mechanical timepiece… so prettah. Wonder if I can get it to work?

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Myeongdong’s Cosme Road: I wrote about this area last year (twice actually)when I went on a full on beauty bender. It was super fun, but this year, I stuck with one natural brand and only bought what I really needed, and one thing I’ve been dying to try.

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Dragon Hill Spa: I couldn’t go this year because of my current chipmunk status, but the best Korean spa experience is an all day (and night) event. A must try. I recommend getting a full massage package (only about 100.00 USD) for a mask, accupressure, and deep bodywork. Affordable luxury and super good for you too.

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English-friendly: I’d argue anytime an eigo-speaker travels Asia, it’s close to impossible to avoid the the language question  Seoul is way more English friendly than Tokyo. Loads more speakers in service industry, and a greater willingness to communicate in even bad English. I realize Japan is shrouded in shyness… but I’m starting to see the Buddhist perspective on shyness (it’s considered pretty negative in Buddhist studies, as a form of self-absorbtion, selfishness). I’ll save the deep-dive into “shy” ideology for another post. Bottom line: Seoul seems more outgoing and more willing to speak up to help you out. It’s refreshing and appreciated.

Being here (and in Vietnam a couple months ago) made me realize that Japan has really worn off on me. I mumble little things in Japanese without realizing it, and bow a LOT. I can’t help but wonder how long that’s going to last after I get back to California? Being an expat isn’t just about trying new things and seeing new places… it’s also about noticing how these things effect you, your worldview, and how you live daily. Experiences layer onto your life, and change your perceptions and attitudes. It’s just a little surprising when you step back and notice it. I wonder what I haven’t noticed?

Okay almost time to board… see you in Tokyo!

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