I'm sending good vibes your way with this post!
I had my first encounter with Hongdae in 2010 and immediately fell in love with the place then. Hongdae is vibrant, creative, unpolished and a little bit rebellious - in other words, it is everything that is crazy/beautiful about youth. I guess it helps that there is a large student population in the area because of Hongik University.
When I get really busy and ultimately very stressed about one thing or another, or if I want to feel inspired, there is nothing more I would want than some quiet time in a quaint coffee shop, enjoying a plate of waffles with ice cream, maybe some hot chocolate on the side while I write, just to take a break from everything. If that's not feasible, I daydream about places like Hongdae and look through my old photos of the place to help me remember.
If you ever find yourself in Seoul and are looking to be inspired, take the train to Hongik University station and spend an afternoon taking a leisurely stroll around the area, camera at the ready. You'll chance upon one-of-a-kind boutiques, quirky cafes and some pretty cool street art. It's exactly what my friends and I did - on the last day of our trip, we took one last walk around the neighborhood we called home for our five days in Seoul. You'll find some of the pictures I took below, plus a lovely little song to get you in a pleasant mood. (Incidentally, the band Busker Busker is an indie group from Hongdae who recently gained mainstream success.)