A temple-like structure on top of a mountain near Ochang, South Korea.

This weekend I stumbled upon a vast system of hiking trails right in the middle of Ochang. I wanted to explore some, and get a different perspective of the city I'll call home for at least a year. I'm delighted to once again live in a place with mountains in sight.

Hiking trails in Ochang, South Korea.
Along the hiking trails in Ochang, South Korea. August, 2011.
My life has slowed down significantly since moving to Korea. This change of pace has been welcomed, as chances to wonder and play were lacking for quite a while. Taking time to hike was something I couldn't do a few weeks ago. Now I plan to go on one daily.

South Koreans approach hiking very seriously. In my opinion, the difficulty of trails in Ochang calls for running shoes, khaki shorts and a t-shirt. Most others on the path wore mountaineering gear. Think alpine outfits, explorer hats, hiking backpacks, other various climbing paraphernalia, and walking poles.

Some trails along the way led to tennis courts. Others stopped to provide exercise equipment. My favorites so far have led to hidden grassy areas with picnic tables and benches. But I've only just begun. There are so many more trails to explore.

Apart from imagining what life would be like if we only drank liquids with mini spoons, as I walked, I thought a lot about attaining goals. A temple-like structure on top of a mountain in the distance provided the perfect visual. Now picture yourself in my place.

Although in sight, it seems so far away. Doesn't it? You can see it, but how will you reach it? Surely there are many paths that lead to it. But which should you take? Will one lead the wrong direction? Is there a wrong direction? Will another dead-end? What's the fastest route?

The only way for us to know is to keep going, to keep exploring, to keep reaching for something more. I'm living my dream. I'm doing what I've set out to do. I'm teaching! And I've found a way to do it while traveling abroad.

What's in sight for you? What will you reach this week? Where will you go this month? How will you get there this year? Garbed like a true Korean hiker or not, we all have a journey to take. Although I've made it this far, that temple in the distance calls my name. Race you to the top!


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  1. "Apart from imagining what life would be like if we only drank liquids with mini spoons" <-- This is one of the reasons I'm glad we're friends.

    Sounds like you're keeping your eyes on the goal AND having lots of fun along the way. Buy yourself an explorer hat and hike on :)

    1. Rena, I've appreciated your friendship every step of the way. Thanks so much for joining my journey!