Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time. – Steven Wright
I remember waking up early on Saturday mornings and packing bags with the softest brötchen from the bakery around the corner. Mine would always be butter and bologna, though I couldn’t tell you why now. My dad would be wearing his Tyrolean hat with a menagerie of feathers and pins, and we’d both have our walking sticks covered in tiny plaques from the towns we wandered through. Mom would make sure we had plenty of water and that the camera was packed, you know, the kind where you actually need to get the film developed. We’d wear our Ramstein Roadrunners windbreakers and set off for a day of hiking in the German countryside. We’d walk through fields and make friends with local Jersey cows. We’d traipse through a forest and I’d venture into the underbrush looking for secret pathways. We’d meander through a town or village until we came across the finish line and revel in our success of completing 5-20Ks. We’d celebrate in a bier hall with innumerable quantities of bratwurst and claim our prize of a stein, pin, medal, or trophy. We were weekend adventurers.
For the last several weekends we’ve become adventurers again, mountain explorers and national park enthusiasts. And while we have replaced brötchen with trail mix, water bottles with camelbacks, and film cameras with iPhones, Dad still brings his walking stick, Mom still takes the pictures, and I still clamber up rocks and look for secret paths. It’s really the highlight of my week, getting out of the house and exploring some place new where I can relax and walk and think.
Years ago I bought hiking boots from REI that I have never really used. I took them to Beijing with me for my hike along the Great Wall, but didn’t use them again after that. It’s kind of sad really because I’ve never gone outside the city and followed all those hikers you see on the Seoul subway. (Honestly, I’ve just wanted to follow a set of them without any plans to see where they’d go.) So once I’m settled in Seongnam, I’m going to continue my volksmarching in Korea with weekend excursions to some of these and other areas. Next Saturday, I already plan on hiking up Kwanaksan with a meetup group I recently joined. Not going to know a soul, but that is what’s going to make this year so entirely epic, meeting new people and doing what I want to do on my own terms. I have some crazy things lined up that I haven’t even added to my Crazy List yet.
I’d say you should definitely expect to see more of the Korean countryside this year, though getting settled into my new job and living arrangements takes precedent. I have decided not to do monthly vlogs this time around, but the jury’s still out on other video compilations. I leave Wednesday afternoon and arrive Thursday night, so this will be my final post stateside. I cannot even give you a guess as to when I might return, but you’re more than welcome to visit and explore a foreign country with me.