Growing up in North Carolina, I remember running through forests, playing in rivers, and basically going to the beach or the lake every other weekend. Summers meant darkened skins that glowed with tans until November and scratches on arms from being hit by tree branches. I really can't remember a year that went by without spending most of the summer outdoors.
Looking back, I spent a lot of time in nature - even in Indonesia (as modernized as it's becoming) untouched nature constantly reminds you that we're the visitors, not the owners.
I've missed that here in Seoul - everything seems to be covered in concrete or artificial grass. But I was comforted when I found this place: Jingwansa temple. The temple itself is gorgeous but the best part (for me, anyway) is that it's surrounded by a beautiful brook. Away from the noises of the city, it literally felt like I was transplanted back to the Eno River near home.
Tell me that doesn't look like ________ (Insert name of your favorite river/forest area here). I fell in love. For a couple of hours I just sat with my feet in the river just taking it all in.
And then I made the way back to the concrete jungle - but with the determination to come back.
To head to Jingwansa temple and the brook, head to 73, Jingwan-gil, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul
( 은평구 진관길 73). There's also a small cafe where they sell hot and cold drinks, whatever floats your boat. If you've got time, pack a small lunch to have near the brook - but remember, all trash should be taken back with you and thrown out at home. No throwing in the brook!