Travelling & Speaking the Local Language

No man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. Otherwise he voluntarily makes himself a great baby — so helpless and so ridiculous.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

If I followed his advice, I would miss out on half the adventures, half the chaos, half the fun.

But Mr. Emerson does have a point.

While it makes travelling more difficult, it also could make it more valuable. It's (sometimes unfortunately) really easy to visit and even live in Seoul without knowing Korean. But there are times I wish I could communicate deeper with people. I'm lucky; my friends from work are able to translate a lot of their and other's conversations for me. But there's more to communication that just simple translations. It's meanings. It's understanding what's not being said. That's what I'm missing.