Back in Canada and in the West in general, we tend to take safety very seriously. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Every angle is covered. Even activities that seem safe for 99% of people have warning labels and safeguards against the 1% of Darwin Award candidates that might fall victim to an unlikely accident.
In Korea (and Asia in general) though? Safety, at least in the way that we think about it, is an afterthought. It’s as if most people tend to trust that other people will do enough on their own to keep themselves safe.
Still though, this? I guess they teach Korean kids not to be afraid of little things like gravity at an early age.
Liability lawyers, start your engines and head to Asia, the land of opportunity! 😛
The streets of Baebang outside my apartment on the first morning at 8am
After shaking off the jetlag that accompanies a trip to the other side of the world, it was time to take a look around the community that would be my home for the next year. Baebang, unknown outside of Korea (and likely the Asan-Cheonan area) is considered to be a town by Korean standards, with a population of approximately 30,000.
While many places this size are a dime a dozen in this country, Baebang has a vibrant feel to it, due to the rapid economic growth it is experiencing due to the presence and continuing expansion of the Korean electronics company, Samsung.
Let’s go for a little stroll and see what’s here, shall we?
The view from the top of my five storey building, overlooking the Eastern portion of Baebang town.
This is what the mailboxes look like over here … mail theft, what’s that? 😛
An exercise machine in my neighbourhood … back pain? Rub up against it grizzly bear style and knead those cramps away!
Many colourful flowers blossom in the long, hot summers that grace the Korean Peninsula. On a major street near the downtown area, we see a display of floral beauty that brighten the sometimes gritty urban landscape that you see throughout Korea.
In Korea, with 50 million people hemmed into an area the size of Ohio or the island of Newfoundland, and with 70% of that land being comprised of mountains, land available to grow food is at a premium. Therefore, every square inch of land that can be used for growing food, usually is, even in the midst of urban areas. Here, a vacant lot is used to grow onions if I’m not mistaken…
At the back of the town site, an amazing site repeated almost everywhere throughout Korea … beautifully shaped mountains towering over their respective towns and cities. Korea is a wonderland for the hiking enthusiast … it’s just a shame I didn’t get a chance to scale one of these beauties (due to the heat, and my sudden … erm … exit from the country)
As I alluded to in the title of this post, I am no longer in Korea, as of August 16. I pulled a midnight run from my private English institute for reasons that shall be disclosed soon (by the end of this month).
Right now, I am typing this from a comfy hostel bed in Bangkok, Thailand. My focus over the next week will be to de-stress from everything that happened in the past two weeks or so. To that end, I’m headed to Koh Chang, hoping for a little sun in the midst of the rainy season (we shall see).
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this: Do you, or have you ever lived in Korea, away from Busan or Seoul? What was your town/city like? Tell me about it in the comments below!
The starting point of my latest journey – the best city on the face of the Earth, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The trip – another 12 hour long haul across the big blue Pacific to South Korea. the mission: Teach the English to overeager Korean youngsters. Game on.
After sorting through reams of paperwork, spending hundreds of dollars, and struggling at times to occupy myself during three months of funemployment in Calgary, Canada, I was on the eve of taking off to tackle the next big adventure in my life. In the next few days, I was due to hop in a plane, head to South Korea (seemingly on the brink of nuclear war at the time of my departure, lol!) and teach English as a second language for one year.
I had just finished spending one year back in my native Canadia, reconnecting with family and attempting to pay off some debt, while figuring out where to steer my ship next. The prior is a story for another post, but suffice to say, the words of my traveling mates, urging me give teaching ESL in Korea a chance, came echoing back somewhere around November 2012. This, plus my discovery of eatyourkimchi.com, an excellent website focused on Korean music and culture, tilted my bow in the direction of the Far East once again!
This brings us to the day of my departure as I commenced flying to Korea … travel with me as I leave the comforts of home once again for the great wide open…!
The giant fish tank in the international departures area of the Vancouver Airport provides an appropriate send-off for Yours Truly. Quick, let’s make our way back to our gate, only five minutes till boarding call!
The Coast Mountains of Vancouver Island comprise the last speck of land that represents Canada on this flight. Judging from the epicness of the scene below, I will have to check’er out next time I’m home for an extended period!
Air Canada airline food: vastly improved from the last time I ate with them. Not only was it edible, it was flavourful and very filling. Great job guys!
After an disorientating 12 hour flight across the vast expanse of the Pacific, I was greeted by a guy who thought I was his guy and who I thought was my contact. Two elevator rides and a five minute wait in the backseat of a cab in a parking garage later, we both realized our mistake and hottailed it back for the arrivals area 😛
Here, I met my contact for ESL Partner, my recruiting agency, who welcomed to the country and walked me through the process of buying my bus ticket to Asan City, 2 hours and 45 minutes away (a good hour and a half south of Seoul). After a few mis-communications, I had my ticket in hand. After spending an hour watching a tape delay MLB game (the LA Dodgers, who have brought over Hyun-Jin Ryu, an outstanding pitcher from Korea, was the prime attraction), I was on the bus and off to Asan City…!
My room in Baebang (not in Asan city as I had previously thought!), after a deep, prolonged sleep. It would have been more prolonged, but I was expected at the school for orientation the following morning!
Have a great (better than mine?!) headed to Korea for the first time tale to tell? Share it below!
Hey guise! Sorry for the silence over the past month or so. With the major adjustments that come with moving overseas and working as an ESL teacher, I have struggled with falling back into a routine with respect to online work.
Now that things seem to be falling into place, I will getting back on the horse, which means finishing the Philippines, the start of posts on South Korea, as well as a variety of new content related to outdoor adventure and excitement in general.
Today’s post is my entry into the vast trove of Korean apartment videos. I had fears of moving into a rickety tar paper shack. Thankfully, South Korea is a first world, super modern country, and those fears are largely unfounded. A few holes owned by shady Hagwon owners do exist, but they are in the minority.
Check out my Korean apartment tour below, and enjoy!
Your intrepid adventurer will be walking streets in South Korea like this one in a mere three weeks … can’t hardly wait!
As I have alluded to previous posts recently, I have a date with South Korea shortly, in roughly three and a half weeks from the time of this post. There, I will be teaching English as a second language to a bunch of precocious Korean youngsters, and I am pumped to be a position to make an impact in their lives.
As well, I will afforded the opportunity to explore a new country in depth over the course of a full year, with the possibility of getting fleeting glimpses of neighbouring nations (Japan, China, Taiwan, etc) on my winter and summer breaks (both a full week each). I am thrilled to say the least!
And so, in order to give you a five star preview of what awaits, I present to you a video NOT made by me (though I hope to have half of this guy’s talent someday soon). Despite its third-party origins, it is a gorgeous, breathtaking view into the Land of the Morning Calm. It played no small role in convincing me to commit to South Korea for a year, and I have no doubt that it will give you the urge to book a ticket to Seoul ASAP, North Korean warmongering be damned!
Check it out below … be sure to click the full screen icon for best viewing (to the right of the HD icon, and the left of the Vimeo icon)!