#TravelWithShinola to South Korea

BY Taylor Rebhan

Matthew Lavere is a Detroit-based photographer who constantly finds himself at the airport, on his way to the next exotic shooting location. Matthew was adopted from South Korea as a baby, and grew up in Michigan. Last month, he visited his home country for the first time, and we sent him off with some of his favorite Shinola men’s products. We’re thrilled to share some of the photos from his trip of a lifetime. Read more about his adventure back home, below. 

“It was great to return to South Korea and spend two weeks in my birth city. I was born in Seoul February 1988, but was adopted in June 1988 and grew up in Livonia, Michigan,” Matthew says. 


“Viewing Seoul, from Namsan Tower, also known as Seoul Tower. It serves as a communications and observations tower. The best views of the capital can be seen from here. You can take a cable car or bus to commute up Namsan Mountain. I chose to walk up the hill before sunset,” says Matthew (pictured above).


Hyangwonjeong Pavilion located in Gyeongbokgung Palace. (pictured above)


“I used the Slim Briefcase for my day to day bag in South Korea. It was great to hold the tools I would need to document my trip,” Matthew says. “It was more fashionable for South Korea too. Using the subway system was the most efficient way to get around the city. If you’ve had any experience with the London Tube or the NYC Subway system, Seoul’s is the easiest to use and navigate around even if you don’t speak or read Korean!”


“There is so much to do and see in South Korea. Spring is the best time to visit South Korea. Not too hot, not too cold, just right,” Matthew says. “The Cherry blossom trees bloom around this time and there are multiple festivals around the city to celebrate it.”


Seoul Olympic Park. The 1988 Summer Olympics were hosted here. Featured is the World Peace Gate. (pictured above)


“Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the most scenic places in Seoul. The palace was built in 1395 and remain one of the more popular tourist spots for a more traditional experience of Korea,” Matthew says. 


The National Folk Museum and the Canfield Chrono 43mm. (pictured above)
Similar style found here



“This is Gwangjang Market. It is one of the oldest and largest markets in Seoul. You can find anything from Korean food, kitchenware, clothing to textiles here. Many locals and tourists come here to eat! I went multiple times on my trip to eat at one of the BiBimBap stalls (pictured above).”


Left: “The “T Money” Card shown with the Shinola Bolt Five Pocket Card Case to navigate through the Seoul Subway system.”

Right: “This was taken while walking up the Namsan Mountain to Namsan Tower, also known as Seoul Tower.”


The Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest and largest markets in Seoul. (pictured above)

“While visiting South Korea it was important for me to journal my day to day experiences. Typically, I would journal anytime I was back at a rented apartment drinking coffee, downloading images, or sometimes on the train,” says Matthew. 

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