Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022: a very brief year-in-review

It was honestly difficult to think of highlights from this year. 2022 passed in a sort of fog, and right now, my brain is like a pothead wheezing, "What? It's over?" A few thoughts did come to me, though. Let's do a quick review.

Early in the year, I wrote and self-published Think Like a Teacher, my small contribution to the burgeoning homeschooling movement. In this booklet, I discuss ten things a teacher needs to do, phrasing my chapter headings as commands: know your goals; have a plan; have standards, set boundaries; be patient; be consistent; learn while you teach; research, research, research; think carefully about testing; provide success experiences and keep things interesting; think like a teacher. I didn't market the book well because I suck at marketing, but it's still selling a copy or two every few months—not enough to gain fame or fortune, but enough to affirm that I exist. Once I discovered how low-quality the paperback and hardback versions of my book were, I restricted sales to the ebook only. I need to find a way to make people aware that they can buy a hard copy of the book from me directly.

Part of my marketing strategy, such as it was, involved learning about the morass known as Reddit so I could post about my book there. I quickly discovered that Reddit was mostly a toxic place full of rabid stupidity, but the r/homeschool subreddit proved to be a haven of earnest people actually helping each other with their various homeschooling needs and problems (contrast that with the mostly negative r/teachers subreddit!). I frequented that subreddit for a few months, and even now, I go back there on occasion for a few minutes, but I don't think that Reddit is, overall, my kind of place. The homeschooling subreddit might be all right, but the rest of Reddit is a subculture I want nothing to do with.

That was the winter/spring of 2022. I was supposed to be working on a much larger, more ambitious book project as well: my huge book of movie reviews. But that has been slow in coming, and I'm very behind, so I have nothing new or good to report. After a miserably hot summer (summers in Korea are always miserably hot), let's fast forward to the fall. My long walk this year was a two-parter: I went to Jeju Island and walked the coastal perimeter, then I flew back to the mainland and walked along the Nakdong River for four days, spanning the distance between Sangju City and Andong City. Jeju was lovely, but I liked the Andong path better, probably because it felt more like the Four Rivers path. In fact, I discovered that the path I was on was a gukto jongju of its own (a country-spanning, end-to-end path), so I now know of three such paths: (1) Four Rivers, (2) east coast, and (3) Nakdong River. The Nakdong River gukto jongju goes from the Andong Dam to Sangju, then all the way down to Busan. The Sangju-to-Busan section, then, coincides with the Four Rivers path, whose final part is that same section. I imagine there's a west-coast gukto jongju as well, and maybe a south-coast one, but I'm not keen on any more coastal walking on the mainland. By contrast, I'd be willing to walk along the Jeju coast again: it's much quieter.

To cap off 2022, there's the craziness I'm involved with now as my entire R&D team has been disbanded. The CEO had a possible change of heart, though, and we're in the process of finding out whether the team can get a new lease on life by working directly under the CEO as his tutors and his content-creation team. That's all still up in the air.

So as with previous years, 2022 has had its ups and downs. I didn't suffer a second stroke, so I'll consider that a plus. I nevertheless need to get back to serious dieting; I spent much of 2022 regaining the weight I'd lost the previous year, and it shows. So come the new year, I'll gather myself up, gird my loins, and try, try again. I hope you also look forward to the new year in a spirit of hope. Good luck to us all in these crazy times.


Charles said...

Good luck indeed, and a happy new year to you!

John Mac said...

You survived another year and had some learning experiences. That's a good definition of success. Along the way, you kept us readers entertained. I read such a variety of things here I would never have even thought about, thanks to you. You are making a difference, whether it feels that way or not.

Best wishes for another year of growth and adventure!

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks, merry gentlemen.

daeguowl said...

Seoul to Busan is the 국토종주. The four rivers is a collection of paths namely hangang, nakdonggang, and i think geumgang and seomjingang. I will email you a photo.

Kevin Kim said...


You're talking specifically about the Four Rivers path? Because I've seen the label 국토종주 applied to the east- coast path and to the 낙동강 path. In fact, the label 국토종주 appears on the ground, painted, as far out as Incheon. I've photographed that plenty of times. I've also seen the phrase 국토종주 사대강길 used quite often.

daeguowl said...

The officialest of official 국토종주 is the 720-odd km from the stamp booth at ara lock to the one at busa n. It doesnt include the andong dam spur. Complete that and you can get a 국토정주 certificate and medal.
The official four rivers is the set of hangang, nakdonggang, geumgang and one of the two in jeollado. Complete all those four and you get a four rivers certificate and medal.

Kevin Kim said...


Now, I'm curious. That number, 720 km, also applies to the now-completed (as of 2017) east-coast trail, which didn't stretch down to Busan before (as the map you emailed me showed), but which goes all the way down now. As I noted on my walk blog when I tried hiking that route, I didn't do the trail correctly because my own route ended up being only 610 km long. Obviously, I missed some parts along the way. In my defense, I was frustrated because I stopped seeing 인증센터 after about the Pohang area, so all I did was essentially follow the coast, which had its own route—the 해파랑길 (the 해파랑길 actually started way up the coast and was, for a time, effectively identical to the 국토종주 동해안길 that I was following).

If you start the 국토종주 사대강길 in Incheon, the engraving under the memorial arch says the total distance for the trail is 633 km (the engraving actually has some funky number like 632,945 m). At the trail's end in Busan, a rock has an engraving saying 사대강 국토종주 633 km, basically affirming what was engraved in Incheon (see my photo here).

So I'm really curious about the 720-kilometer version of this trail. Do you happen to have a map? What makes 720 km more official than what's engraved at Incheon and Busan?