Saturday, April 01, 2017

walk canceled

I had a revelation last night: as my boss said recently, "You're no spring chicken." He's right: with the aches and pains piling up, I think this walk from Seoul to Busan is looking less plausible and more ridiculous. As much as I like walking and want to see the Korean countryside, I don't think I can put myself through this kind of punishment anymore.

So, alas, I'm dropping the project. Canceling the walk. It's a bit like becoming fluent in Korean: a now-unreachable goal because I waited too long. Sad, really... I've got all this camping equipment and camp food. But there'll be opportunities to camp, I think; I'll still do my walks, although nothing as insane as a 600-kilometer walk.

I'd been privately thinking about quitting for a while. And though I feel guilty about doing it, making the decision official is a weight off my shoulders.


John John McCrarey said...

Think about it for one more day. You're a fool to make a decision like this on April 1.

Charles said...

@John: Heh.

But, seriously, I'm sure you have been thinking about this for a while and are not making this decision on the spur of the moment. You gotta do what's best for you in the long run.

I would say this, though: Why does it have to be all or nothing? What if, instead, you did the walk, but you did it over weekends (or long weekends, when you had them), in stretches? A lot of people walk the Baekdu Daegan, but very few people actually walk it in one go. They walk a bit of it, come back later and walk the next bit, etc.

I don't know your route all that well, but as long as you're not going deep into the mountains (and a river route would suggest that you would not), you'll never be far from civilization. How about breaking it up into manageable chunks, say 10-12 legs, each a two-day walk? The downside is having to arrange for transportation to and from the starting/finishing points, but the upside would be that you wouldn't be killing yourself--you wouldn't have to be walking twenty-something days in a row, which means you wouldn't have to carry as much in the way of equipment and supplies, and you would also have time to recuperate in between legs.

I mean, it's up to you, of course, but I think you should go for it. This is something that you really want to do. I know you have romantic notions about walking for three or four weeks straight, but I don't think that splitting it up necessarily makes it any less of an achievement.

Surprises Aplenty said...

Is John on to something? I took you as sincere.

Please consider it the way I had suggested. Do the whole walk but not all at once. The first few stages could be done while taking the subway home at night, I think.

Whatever your decision, and even if this is an April 1st prank - one that got me, except for John ruining it - I'm happy to go on more walks with you.

Kevin Kim said...


Definitely an April Fool's joke.

Charles & Brian,

Breaking up the route would be cheating—to me, it'd feel like running a mile every day for 26 days, then 0.2 miles on the final day, then declaring I had run a marathon. Yeah, technically, I'd have run 26.2 miles, but that wouldn't be a marathon in the normal sense of the word.

I'll be talking more specifically about the route shortly. I think it's quite walkable within about 24 days, and my boss is giving me a whole calendar month to do it, so I can afford to slack a bit if needed.

That said, even though the distance will be shorter, this will be a significantly more intense walk than the 2008 one. In 2008, I walked distances as short as 2 miles (within Seattle, from a Zen center/house temple to an SGI Buddhist guy's apartment) to as long as 30-some miles (Troutdale to Cascade Locks). I also paused for several days along my route. For this Korea walk, I'll be averaging 15 miles a day, and I won't be giving myself day-long rest breaks (except maybe toward the end, depending on how I'm doing, speed-wise). It's going to be much more intense if we think in terms of a time-and-motion study.

Charles said...

You got me.

I disagree with your marathon comparison, though. A lot of people walk the Appalachian Trail (to take one example) in legs, and they can certainly claim to have walked it. Even people who walk the trail in one go are still technically breaking it up into legs (having to rest at night). Marathons are specifically about doing the distance in one go, without stopping, no matter how long it takes you.

But I do understand what you're saying.

Kevin Kim said...

"I disagree with your marathon comparison, though."

Of course you do, my consistently contrarian friend. You wouldn't be you if you didn't!

"But I do understand what you're saying."

At least there's that.

Some years back, there was this Korean guy—super-athletic—who tackled the Appalachian Trail, doing the end-to-end (around 2200 miles) in a few months. He survived largely on cans of tuna and other humble vittles that he bought at general stores along the way. That guy is my idol. I'll never be worthy of him, but he's my idol all the same.