The 7 circles of Holiday.
When the planets align, life brings great things, like the second half of Rogue One or Ryan Seacrest's face after trying to high-five a blind guy.
2017 Brought an alignment of public holidays in South Korea, creating a magical 10-day window for would-be travellers and world-class slackers. This was Chuseok, a Korean holiday similar to Thanksgiving in the United States.
It was an amazing experience that allowed friends and I to see some of the amazing parts of our new home. Travelling is fun, especially in a large group, but that doesn't mean everything was always sunshine and roses. I figured I'd write about what isn't always discussed about these trips: the difficult parts, and instead of the usual photos, I’ll use illustrations by friend's (because it's Inktober).
In descending order, the 7 circles of Chuseok hell are:
1: Seoul Subway with friends
Drawing by Michaella Sloane.
A circle for those who choose to travel with a large group of friends, this ordeal has you stopping every few minutes to regroup and make sure nobody has been left behind. Seoul has one of the more impressive subway systems in the world, and with a good map and some attention you can get anywhere in the city quickly. Not with a large group of amigos though. On the plus side you can always rest assured knowing there will be a break coming up to buy a snack or play Pokemon go.
2: A dorm room smelling of fart.
Drawing by Sarah Rose de Villiers
This circle is for those who choose to sleep in a dorm with 5 immature men. It's pretty self-explanatory.
3: The bus ride to Busan.
I cant draw.
You are cursed to spend what seems like an eternity on a bus stuck in holiday traffic. The already long trip will take twice as long, bumps in the road will make sleeping difficult, and the person who was far less organised and got a later bus ticket that afternoon will still get to Busan before you.
4: Deciding where to eat in a group.
Drawing by Rebecca Milne.
You are cursed to wander busy streets of Seoul or Busan aimlessly for a half-hour longer than you should because the burden of being the leader is stressful and everyone has different tastes and likes different things.
You're probably just going to get chicken and beer anyway.
5: The bus to Haedong Yonggung Temple.
Another by Michaella Sloane.
This circle is for those who feel the need to travel to the most remote and tourist heavy attractions during a public holiday. Instead of the usually bearable 3-4 stops you find yourself on most buses, this one will last around 15, adding beautifully to the 16 subway stops it took to get to the bus station. For the best experience it’s recommended you give up all hope of finding a seat before you get on the bus. The temple will still be pretty amazing though.
6: Being lost in a mall.
Drawing by Photoshop because if I'm honest Photoshop is probably my best friend.
This circle of hell is reserved for those who refuse to re-enter circle 5, instead choosing a high-end mega mall with a confusing layout and countless stores peddling clothes you shouldn't buy. You begin as a group with a single goal of getting to the subway station at the other end, but almost immediately split up and get lost in different sections, transforming what should be a 10 minute walk into an hour of arguing and misreading the mall map.
7: Sleeping in a doorway in Seoul.
This final circle of hell is for those who wander off from the group even though they have no phone and know nothing about the area they are in or where they stay. Given that the devil has a keen sense of irony you will eventually sleep in a doorway just as you joked about earlier in the day, waiting for the subway to start running again so you can find your way home.
Still a 10/10 holiday though.
Drawing by Michael Simons.