308. The ahjussi from Seoul

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

Shams of Tabriz’s 40 Rules of Love

One of the things I truly enjoy about solo travel is the opportunity to be alone and embrace solitude. I am most alive and aware of the things around and within me then, and that’s a pretty addictive thing to experience.

In a world where we areexpected to be readily available through social media and technology, I appreciate the opportunity to switch off and disconnect. It’s a means to recharge physically, mentally and emotionally.


However, surprisingly, I have grown to realise that opportunities to meet locals become aplenty when I travel alone. Perhaps it’s a lot less intimidating to approach a traveller who’s alone, compared to one who is armed with a big group. (cue: Vulnerability alert!)

Of course, it goes without saying that a solo traveller has to be extra careful and take more safety precautions, but that shouldn’t deny one of the beautiful experience of crossing paths with others and making meaningful connections.

I believe it also falls upon the individual to approach others. I make it a habit to think good thoughts whenever possible, in the hope that the positive energy radiates out and attract more positivity. After all, the world we see outside of us reflects what’s inside of us, and we attract what we are. Simple laws of attraction. 🙂

It was therefore a very pleasant surprise when I was at a train station in Seoul, when this this super friendly ahjussi saw me and gave salaam with a huge smile. I was actually miffed that I’d missed a train, but his smile was too genuine to ignore!

He asked where I was from after I replied his salaam. We got into an animated conversation about his time working in Saudi Arabia for ten years (hence his happiness when he spotted me – he thought I was from Saudi!) and how I was falling in love with Korea. He told me to consider moving to Seoul because there is much more to fall in love with, something that I would readily agree with.

We parted ways with a ma’as salaamah (safety be with you) from him and a huge thank you from my end.

It was such a short and seemingly inconsequential meeting, but that intersection of two completely different souls left such a profound impact on me. I was feeling off ever since I’d touched down in Seoul, in part because I was going through an intense grieving process, and there God allowed a kind stranger to touch my soul in the gentlest of ways. It reminded me that in this big and often perplexing world, God answers prayers in His wisdom – often quietly, often in ways we often overlook and take for granted.

Lots of love,


3 thoughts on “308. The ahjussi from Seoul

  1. Pingback: 337. Why Muslims Need to Keep Travelling in this Climate of Fear. | Raise your sights.

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