Sunday, April 22, 2018

exactly one year ago today

On April 22, 2017, I stepped out the door a bit after 5AM and began to make my way along the local bike route toward the Han River on what was to become a 26-day trek from my apartment in Seoul to the Nakdong River Estuary in Busan. The walk, because it didn't start way west in Incheon, was only 550 kilometers (about 340 miles) and not the full 630-some. The terrain was largely flat, but there were enough steep hills to give me an occasional workout. The riverland countryside that I passed along the way was unspeakably beautiful, and even now, a year later, I think I'd like to spend the rest of my life out on the trail... if I could find a way to make that feasible.

I wish I could do that walk every year, but ever since the R&D department moved to a new building and increased in size, it's been impossible to take such a long break. I used to work in a closed-off room at the end of a dark hallway—a place with opaque walls and few visitors; my absence was never noticed. These days, I work in a glassed-in aquarium: any prolonged absence would be noticed, and my boss would be put on the spot with a barrage of "Where has Kevin been all this time?" questions. I've thought about clever ways to get around that, but in the end, I think the only way to keep hiking during the April-May season is to quit my job, earn a ton of money writing books, and then devote my time to cross-country trekking.

The trail is always calling. A year has gone by, but the impulse to get back out there remains. I'm going to visit the US and France this year, though, so any plans to go hiking will have to wait until 2019, the year I turn fifty. Part of me wants to re-walk the Gukto Jongju that I walked last year; part of me wants to explore the recently completed east-coast path, which stretches from Gangneung in the northeast all the way down to Busan in the southeast. We'll see, in a year, what's possible and what isn't.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Wow, it's been a whole year? How time flies....

to quit my job, earn a ton of money writing books, and then devote my time to [X].