Two and a half years ago I got on a plane from Chicago to South Korea.
I wasn’t exactly sure why I left – my everyday life had gotten a little stale and myself a bit less motivated, less passionate. Sure, I wanted to take a break from my studies and travel and make some money, but what I really wanted was to simply feel something different.
I tried my best. Since I left home I rode a camel in the desert, realized I love teaching but dislike being a teacher, ate live octopus, dog, silk worm larvae, and other questionable foods, discovered an affection for photography, scuba diving, fake Ray-Bans and riding motorbikes, swapped stories about ajummas with foreigners and stories about foreigners with ajummas, went to a rock festival, a film festival, a tomato festival, a mud festival, and a rice festival, reacquainted myself with reading books, went clubbing in Tokyo, slept in a H’mong women’s house in the mountains, tried to learn Korean, fell in love with a girl, watched bodies burning in Varanasi and cats jumping in Burma, had to hear from email or facebook of my friends getting engaged, married, having babies, and passing away, made some amazing friends and shared many bottles of makgeolli with them. I felt.
And I also realized that I don’t have to eat the strangest foods or see the most far-off places (even though it is fun sometimes) in order to have a memorable experience. It can happen anywhere, doing anything, as long as I can connect to it.
Now I return after 884 days – feeling re-motivated and more passionate about my life. Confident that my time so far away from my family and friends was worthwhile. Excited not only for the big adventures ahead but also the everyday.
I’m coming back home and I couldn’t be more excited.