Took that with the cell phone on the way in. I am so happy to finally be here. It took just over 24 hours of total travel time for me to arrive at the door of my gracious hosts. Seoul is massive. The third largest city in the world, and it seems like it. Wikipedia info on: Seoul
Tonight, Nathan had to leave almost immediately after I arrived, but Rachel took me to their favorite restaurant, and we ate Dalk Kalbi, which is a noodle, chicken, and fire spice mix. I did not bring my camera out with me, but will do so tomorrow, because the street we went to was incredible. I have never seen so much neon.
On the way over here I ended up getting a seat on the exit row next to a guy named Michael, who was coming over here to do translation work for the Air Force. (I didn’t find out he was in the Air Force until we were in line for customs.) He went over my Korean phrase book with me and helped me get a basic understanding of the language. I am able to slowly start to phonetically pronounce words now, even if I have no idea what they mean.
Here is a look at a very small part of downtown Seoul. Wait till you see what I have to upload tomorrow.
Everything is purchased, prepped, and (almost) packed. I still have to throw the last minute things together, but I am pretty much ready to go. My pack is pretty small, and should fit as a carry on. The picture is what it looks like, and it isn’t very big at all. Hard to belive that it will last me for an indefinite amount of time. I leave in six hours, and am to stressed/busy/tired to write a proper post, but wanted to throw something out there before I left.
Adios America. Please do not elect another Clinton to the White House while I am gone. I want to still have a country to come back to.
I spent my last weekend in the States camping and climbing with some old friends up in North Georgia. Brit and I went up on Friday night and got a campsite, then were met on Saturday by Will and Brooke at the mountain. Since we all arrived at different times, and none of us had ever been there before, finding each other on the rock was a little difficult, but we managed.
It was a good way to step back from the past few weeks and get in the zone to get ready to go.The next 24 hours will be full of packing, stress, and trying to make sure I don’t die in Asia. Wish me luck.
(Oh yeah, remember that PacSafe thing I was talking about in this post? Well it came in, and it is awesome.)
I have four days remaining in the USA for what could possibly be the next year and a half. That is an incredibly scary, exciting notion. On one hand, I know that I can come home if I want to, but that would be simply going back to what I have always known, and I know that it isn’t enough for me. I find enough to do, but it is not what I enjoy. Maybe I end up in Asia, and find that it does not fit me at all, and that I am drowning in culture overload combined with lack of planning (which was purposeful). If so, there is nothing keeping me from up and heading to Europe, spending more time in India, or going to Australia. There is no feeling quite like that of knowing you can head anywhere you want to at the least substantial whim.
There are so many people I want to see before I head out, but I just don’t have time. If you are in the southeast, a bunch of us are going camping this weekend, and we would love you to come. I am not sure the best way to contact me while I am gone, but email will always works, and I have Skype, username: ben0602.
I finally sold my car on Friday, and the first thing i bought was a new laptop. I got an extremely cheap one, since I know that it probably will not survive long while I am traveling. Then I upgraded its ram so that is is respectable, and it has Vista (which I am still deciding if I like or not). Adobe CS3 is up and running and I am ready to go. The laptop has a built in webcam, which is really cool, and a media card reader, and a remote. So all in all, I am happy with it. I am now just getting everything the way I like it and messing around with what it can and cannot do. I leave in just over a week, which is crazy, and I still have to finish the deck I have been building for the past few weeks. It is coming along now faster than ever, but it will be close.
I have started to figure out a little bit of my trip. The first two nights I am in Seoul I will be staying with a couple, Nathan and Rachel, who I met over couchsurfing.com. They seem like they are kind, intelligent and interesting. since this is my first surfing experience, I was a little apprehensive, but they have sent me maps, directions, and a plethora of information that has been amazing. I get into Seoul at 3:20 p.m. local Korean time, and will probably spend some time exploring the city before I go to meet up with them.
I have also started to get my pack ready, and my current list of items is growing. It is important for me to keep it small, since I have to be able to carry with me at all times. I do not want to have to ever check my bag. Current Pack List
Camera (dSLR, so it is bigger than it probably should be)
Laptop (Small, under 5 lbs, and able to run Adobe CS3)
3 shirts (Two long sleeve that I can roll up, one short, all quick dry)
2 pairs of pants (Zip off legs so they can be shorts, quick dry)
3 pairs of quick dry hiking socks
3 pairs of boxers (Quick dry Capiline)
Small med kit
Small wash kit (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, quick dry towel)
MAYBE- a small travel pillow…
There will be some books, and probably an Ipod… but not sure yet about how much space and weight I will have left. I also don’t want to look like a walking ATM target, so my pack is dirty and will stay that way. I don’t plan on taking my laptop out in public at all, and only using my phone when I absolutely have to. I would rather be out of touch and on my terms, which means that the phone will be off almost all the time.
Ok guys, I just implemented a new way to view my photos. I think that it looks much cleaner, but it seams to be slower, so I am debating going back to the old way. This one will be easier for me to upload from while I am abroad, so I may just stick with it. Please comment and let me know which one you prefer.
Posted by mobile phone: I have been reading more now that I am home and have some downtime. I recently finished Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” and Laurence Gonzales’ “Deep Survival.” Both were very interesting reads, and both were written by journalists, who happen to be my favorite type of author. Krakauer’s book was about the fastest growing religion in the United States, Mormonism. Specifically Mormon Fundamentalism and two murders that stemmed from one sect of these groups. He did his homework for this book, and it is one of his most detailed, considering he wasn’t there for it (as he was for “Into Thin Air.”) It gave me an insight to a religion that is much larger than I had ever known, and made me think about how religions start and spread in general.
The other book I just finished, “Deep Survival”, is about the survival instinct and how it exists in some people, and seems to be strangely nonexistent in others. Gonzales mixes true stories with scientific research Read the rest »
I did not post much about the experience in the desert because it is something that is very hard to explain in words. I decided to pass over it on the blog, and just talk about it to people I know. However, many people have been asking me about it, and I wrote this to a friend at Farr Associates, and have decided to post it as well.
In a word, it was life changing. Black Rock City (the name of the week long city that is created in the desert) is a one of a kind place. It is what society would be if everyone decided that it was in their best interest to serve others. A utopia of sorts, but one that can only exist for such a short time because of its very nature.
We had to bring all of our own supplies out to the desert, enough to last for a full week – at least 1.5 gallons of water per person per day, food, shelter, gifts to society… everything. There is no trade or commerce on the playa (the desert), everything is gifted. So I made leather masks for anyone who stopped by our camp, or saw me out with mine on and wanted on. I brought a half –hide of leather out with me, and drew masks, cut them, and boiled them from 1-3 every day. That was my gift.
I stopped by the Big Cedar Dirt bike Course outside of Auburn on my way home and spent an hour or so there taking pictures and wandering around it, trying to avoid getting hit. It had been a while since I used my camera, and I wanted to make sure it was still working fine after Burning Man.
I saw this place as I drove by it on the highway, so I pulled off, and used the GPS to find the way there. I had to sign a form that said if I die, it wasn’t their fault, then they just let me go wherever I wanted.
It felt a lot like it did when i took pictures at the Carolina Cup -get as close as you can, but watch out because you could get hit by a runaway at any moment.
Camera still works, and I got to see some kick ass bike riding.
Check out the Photos page for more pictures of the bikers.