I love gizmos and gadgets, and they can’t be avoided here. Korea, home to electronics giants Samsung and LG, wants to continue improving its electronics so it can compete with its Japanese counterparts. Cell phones, mp3 players and personal media players (sometimes all combined into one) are only the tip of the technological iceberg, and every Korean and his mother are tinkering with one or all of those things on the subway, bus or even while walking.
One of my fatal flaws is that I can’t resist shiny new toys. I got rid of most of what I owned to come to Korea to save money to pay off some bills. The whole minimalism/aescetic mindset is a little harder for me to achieve with the electronic temptations here. During the previous six months, I’ve accumulated a small speaker system, a 22″ external LCD monitor, a DSLR camera (with a handful of lenses) and most recently, a cell phone.
None of these are necessities (even though I’ve managed to rationalize every single decision into a quasi-necessity), and they’ve made a little (read: big) dent into my savings plans. The only thing that will leave the country with me when I do is the DSLR. Everything else is pretty much just a really expensive rental. They can easily be sold to someone else who has the same affinity for gizmos as I do.
These spending tendencies are a stark contrast to my backpacking habits. I’ll eat as much street food as possible (although that may be linked more to my palette’s preferences) and sleep in the cheapest hostels I can find. I’ll haggle over what ends up being 30 U.S. cents. In normal life, though, when I’m bored I’ll tend to do one of two things: eat and/or spend money.
At this point, I can’t imagine making any more large technological purchases. I have everything (and more) than I could ever need, even for a traveler: iPod, MacBook, Canon 40D, fancy mobile phone and Nintendo DS. I suppose that pushes me toward the realm of flashpacking, but I still need to do a little more traveling before I can wear that badge.
Note to self: travel more. Duly noted.