An Impromptu Hike on Dobongsan

"Serendipity.  Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for." - Lawrence Block

Earlier this week, I felt the need to get out my apartment and take advantage of the beautiful weather.  A friend had told me about a place called Herb Garden in Gyeonggi Province and without doing much research, I made it my destination for the day.

It’s your party, but please learn to hike first.

With about 70% of the Korean peninsula covered with mountains, the hiking culture dominates the the Land of Kimchi. I went for a short hike up Mt. Dobongsan near my home a few weeks ago. I have a ways to go if I want to start calling myself a “hiker”, but here are my thoughts thus far…

Hiking in Korea is reminiscent of attending an epic college party.

It is imperative that you…

pre-game. (Who wants some morning makgeolli?)

Ahn nyeong from... Seoul!

I recently re-read my last post and laughed at my certainty for leaving Korea. The yearning for change was met with a giant whirlwind that swiftly picked me up and has yet to spit me out. But did I leave Korea? No. Well at least not yet.

I am not settled and for a long while, nor was I grounded. But luckily, after a much needed, restful Sunday filled with a whole lot of reflecting and introspection, I seem to have found something strong and sturdy to hang onto. It comes from within myself and despite this crazy vortex that is life, I have regained some stability, something that can be difficult to grasp when you are not settled.

So what's been going on lately? Here are some highlights!

Last month, I celebrated my last day of two years teaching at a public school in Anyang City. Some 900 students at this school will remain in my heart forever. 

Dobongsan (도봉산) in Monochrome: In Seoul, but Not

One of the greatest things about Seoul and it's outlying areas is the ease in which one can hop on a subway and, in less than an hour, be at the base of a a mountain- an escape from the city life. Dobongsan is one of my favorite mountains in Seoul. I've hiked it many times, but it always feels different. Once I climbed to the top and found cats perched on tiny trees near the ledge. There weren't any cats on this trip, but of course, the massive slabs of rock were there to make me feel ever so grounded.

Dobongsan (도 봉산): 3rd time's a charm.

Dobongsan is a mountain located in Seoul and one that I've climbed twice prior. Unfortunately, the first time, it was a bit too icy to reach a peak and the second time, too foggy. Two weekends ago, however, conditions were perfect and we were able to visit multiple peaks. Aside from amazing views, there is something about making it to the top of the mountain that is so much more empowering than to any other point. I feel totally one with a force that I cannot even comprehend.

A giant update: plans and places.

Gosh, I've been a horrible blogger lately. After changing my mind countless times, I've finally decided to extend my stay in Korea for one more year with my current school. There was about a month period that I confused just about every person close to me, telling them of my certainty for either staying or going and then changing my mind literally days later. My pros and cons lists were enormous, but what it ultimately came down to was one thing- Is this settled, safe feeling something to be embraced or is it a sign of just that, settling? I tend to avoid commitment and safety and prefer a life full of changes, generally on a yearly basis. For good or for worse, it keeps things exciting. On the other hand, it prevents the deepest and most meaningful of experiences, relationships, feelings, etc. from emerging above that surface that I often linger upon. So let it be said, I'll be here another year with plenty more to explore.

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