Reflections on the Road: A Second Visit to the N Seoul Tower in South Korea

Asia, South Korea, Travel Anecdotes and Then Some

You often hear travelers and adventurers utter the mantra “Live Life to the Fullest” or “You Only Live Once”. For the most part, adventurers try to experience something new, taste something different and see the world from a different perspective.

But what they don’t tell you is that even the most experienced and most accomplished travelers have regrets:

In travel circles, one common regret is that someone wasn’t able to maximize his travel time and failed to explore one destination. Often times, this regret lingers and stays on, especially if the travelers failed to visit that place again.

I was having that regret when I visited Seoul in 2011. I was still a naive traveler and I was interested to see as much as I could in a short span of time, effectively shortening my stay at all the places I checked.

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But I was really bothered when I wasn’t able to explore the N Seoul Tower as much as I should have during that visit. Time restrictions and budgetary constraints prevented me from experiencing the cable car and climbing all the way to the observation deck. Yes, I failed to see the entire city of Seoul from such a high vantage point.

I lived with that regret for three years.

That is why during my most recent visit to Seoul, I was really ecstatic that I was able to check out N Seoul Tower. This time, I had the complete experience thanks to my awesome company (we had a company outing in Seoul).

The cable car ride was as exhilarating as I imagined it to be. If you are afraid of heights, then this ride is not for you since it gives you a complete view of the entire city as it slowly ascends to the observation hill.

Perspective

The view from the observation deck was surreal. It was just too picturesque and I share this sentiment with the hundreds of visitors who were also present at the deck during my visit. Every one was trying to capture the image of the city from this vantage point.

I can see skyscrapers as tiny structures. The people are merely the size of of a speck of dust.

It really gives you perspective on how big this world is and how insignificant we all are in the scheme of things.

Our problems don’t matter.

Even when our heart is bleeding, the world will keep on turning.

Love Locks

 
Unlike my previous visit, I was finally able to check out the observation deck and see the love locks displayed in the tower’s fences.

I have long wanted to see these love locks. As a hopeless romantic, it warms my heart to see thousands of these locks displayed in the tower. These locks effectively which represent the hearts of thousands of couples in love.

I can imagine two young Koreans truly, madly, deeply in love with each other. The guy isn’t rich and the girl’s family doesn’t like him at all. the family tries to break them apart, but they couldn’t stand the thought of losing the love they had, so they eloped. In one of their most trying days, they trooped to Namsan and under the autumn sky, they swore their undying love for one another.

I’d like to believe that just like these mementos, their affection for each other remains strong and steadfast.

Yes, it’s really hard to find true love but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

And even when their love eventually fade, they can always look back to their happier days by visiting N Seoul Tower and see the locks left by other lovers, who just like them, promised to love another without any hesitation.

I stayed in the tower for over an hour. Looking around, you can see a lot of lovers milling around, presumably to leave their own locks. And again, it really made me happy, there is still a lot of love left in this world.

Not everything is lost

 Even as we speak, the Korean peninsula is still divided and an immediate resolution to the conflict is still nowhere in sight. This war, which escalated in the 1950s, separated families and left millions impoverished.  The tension between the two states remain as high as before even as talks of nuclear warfare persist.
But as I see the love locks and the people in love all around me. I continue to believe that not everything is lost to hatred and indifference.

For as long as love endures, there is still hope for this world.

  

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