My pleas fall on deaf ears. I take the 3-hour bus trip back to Yeosu, where I teach English.
The school where I teach English has no choice but to pay for another ticket a week later. My tourist visa-free month is nearly up. I have to leave the country to get a work visa to stay for the year.
"Make sure you exchange your South Korean Won money for the Japanese Yen before you get on the plane. You won't be able to once you arrive in Japan."
I pack for one night stay in Busan, South Korea (where the airport is) and one night stay in Fukuoka, Japan. I've enough money for decent but budget accommodation and food, with no grand touristing plans.
Get in. Go to the Consulate. Get out.
Although only a short trip, I'm excited. Especially for an inexperienced young traveller like myself.
On disembarking in Fukuoka, I pass a young man with long blonde hair arguing at the counter inside the airport, or should I say begging. He has nothing but South Korean Won on him. Zero Dollars or Yen. No one had told him that he had to change his money in South Korea.
It was none of my business. And definitely not MY problem. Except I couldn't.
I don't know how my mother brought me up, but I throw all my rational thinking out the window and invite this hippie stranger to come with me.
"I will pay for your Visa."
Paying for his Visa means using up the accommodation and food budget. What I have is faith. We'll figure it out. I'm not used to feeling guided.
I have this word in my head. ISLAND. Get thee to the water. Perhaps someone had whispered it to me in South Korea.
I'm great at living on impulse. However, it has done nothing but get me into trouble on all previous occasions, including landing me in jail. So why have I not yet learned my lesson? When I look back, it is beyond me.
This is not that kind of a story though. Nothing but feel-good stuff is about to unfold here.
He tells me he is from Germany and that he recently travelled through India and China. And now he is starting a post teaching English in Seoul.
We walk. At my insistence, we walk and walk and walk.
I have enough Yen to buy us a small packet of cooked rice each. It felt like a feast to our hungry stomachs. This is IT until we get back the next day to South Korea.
We fight about where to go. My new friend is tired, and I want my island. But, if he knew me, he'd know you can't sway me once I've decided to do something.
Besides, where were we going to sleep? On the street? No. I wanted my beach and the water.