Several things have been on my mind lately. Especially since last Tuesday. (Its sat. now). I've had quite a few thoughts coming at me...all from different origins. Posters, quotes, music, books, friends, and family. The first I might catch a bit of flack for, so let me voice a disclaimer. This doesn't apply to everything, just some things. That aside: Its better to regret something you did, than something you didn't.There are good and bad to me leaving Korea and to staying. The same is true of America. If I do extend my teaching contract for an additional semester, I will undoubtedly wish at times I had not. Yet there are things that I can learn from being here another 6 months that could not happen otherwise. and I think when I apply my first thought to my current conundrum, ( I love that word)...I need to stay. 

I am growing fonder of train rides. People don’t tolerate noise on the train because there is a café car for talking on the phone and eating. So my time on them is peaceful and usually includes reflection, writing, reading, and occasionally a specifically chosen song to go along with my mood. No iPod shuffle business. Hmm, iPod shuffle. That could be a new dance. Steve Jobs would require payment though. Oh well. 

The 2nd thought that has been on my mind is Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. This is more of a constant pep talk than an announcement I suppose. I need to hear this all the time. Otherwise I seem to find ways to justify extreme laziness. Most people are familiar with the first portion of the saying, but the last part is not as often used. Translated it means “putting as little trust as possible in the future”. When talking to my sister about whether to stay or not, she told me that she had wanted and planned on going back to Europe while studying at Oklahoma Christian. She’s done there now and that is not available. After she told me that, the last part of the famous line popped at me more than the first. If I like it here and think there is still more for me to learn and more for me to give, I need to stay. 

Third and possibly the newest addition to the list is “life begins just outside your comfort zone”. I think my uncertainty is what is ultimately fueling my need to stay longer. It’s hard to state exactly why I want to, but I feel I need to. It’s partially because I’m slightly scared to stay. As I said before I left…its 6 months. I can do anything for 6 months.

Closer to Seoul again I feel cool relaxation. With Seoul being second only to Tokyo in population, that strikes me as somewhat weird. In my book Zen and TAMM the narrator keeps stating, “to travel is better than to arrive”. That is very true for me and partially explains why I like to go. Go anywhere really. This isn’t the first time I’ve been introduced to a statement like this though. The first was when I was 17 and in Canada on a 2-week wilderness trek. My friend and mentor Rodney Minor told me to “enjoy the journey and not the destination”. Now while the phrase wasn’t coined there standing on those rocks in Thunder Bay, it was new to me and I don’t see me ever forgetting it. The phrase is easily adaptable to a wide range of situations and if I could contribute anything to a motivational speech, those would be the words. I’d say it takes at least a little bit of practice to enjoy journeys though, because the journey stopped being the thing to do sometime in the 60s. About the time cars stopped being stylish and something you take pride in and started being nothing more than a disposable transportation mechanism. We’re not brought up to enjoy travel for travel anymore. Travel is something that is a mandatory inconvenience you must endure to accomplish your tasks. When you figure out how to break away from that mold though, you see what you are doing in a COMPLETELY different light. You actually enjoy it.  If you see my thought pattern here, then you might know where I’m going with this. If you learn HOW to enjoy travel, you don’t want there to BE a destination. Which brings us full circle to me wanting to go! Go! Go!

The buildings are bigger, taller, and brighter now. Rivers are becoming more plentiful and the bridges are lit. As more people rush off the train at each stop I know I’m getting closer to my destination, Seoul Station. I find that I enjoy Seoul more now. (I must, I’ve been here twice this week.) I see its uniqueness and ways that it is original and different than Daegu and Busan. I should probably put my stuff back in my bag and get ready to head off myself. My train journey is finished and my subway journey starts.
5/9/2011 08:01:48 am

Reminds me of another saying.
"Ride to live, live to ride"


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