There is something compelling about the unexpected surprises that come with being a stranger in a strange land.
Certainly, there can be annoyances when mistakes happen due to language and customs miscues. It’s a small price to pay for the education that comes with these inconsequential failures.
Korea demonstrated a lot of these moments when I visited there two years ago. I learned something new every day despite my shortcomings with the language.
I was really only able to say please and thank you. This paled in comparison to the very high number of Koreans who spoke English. Every person under the age of 25 was willing and able to chat with me in my native tongue.
There were only a few times in which I was completely befuddled.
One was with an older gentleman driving me in a taxi in Seoul. Eventually, a translation app solved the problem.
The other was a mysterious sign that I encountered in Busan. Even today I still don’t know what a “resting photo zone” means.
Hopefully, on my next visit, I’ll find out.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.