The Shore Up Above

When I first had the inkling thought of living abroad to teach ESL, I thought my life would be something like this:

Alas, when I arrived, after the first month or two’s shiny varnish chipped off like lacquered nail polish, I realized with some dismay that my life is actually more like this:

As such, I’ve been feeling increasingly bound by the desk job contract, even if I am signing a renewal for another 17 months (bitches gotta pay off student loans/save money somehow). While it is nice to have a steady (and quite generous) income every month (probably one of the few times in my life I will be able to look forward to a nice fat & guaranteed deposit), I can’t help but fantasize about life on the road.

The trip to Namhae (See Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3) was revitalizing, but I need a more permanent sense of nomadicism (nomadicness? Nomadiatics?) to keep me going. Maybe it’s because I was born in the Year of the Horse and long for galloping the open fields, or just because I grew up with tales of adventure from my mom and the endless stacks of literature with which she gifted me.

So adventure! Very excite! Much wow!

Either way, Andrea came up with a very solid analogy a while back when we were discussing our mutual feelings of exasperation at having traveled across the world to escape conventionality only to find ourselves exactly where we were trying to escape from. It went something like this: we’ve spent our lives to date living as horses inside a stable, only to be finally taken outside – and tied to a picket post. We have the sky above us, and the fields to look at, but we still aren’t really free. Not even for the one-to-two-week-at-a-time vacations where the ticking clock is ever-present.

But whenever we start to get too gloomy about living only for the weekends, or for those precious vacation weeks, we remind ourselves that it’s still all waiting out there, and that this is getting us closer (financially speaking) to our goal.

And one day we will be able to do this for real:

I guess one important thing to remember is that living abroad isn’t necessarily jam-packed with adventure: it’s much the same as living back home, except you need to relieve yourself with squat toilets, are occasionally bewildered by the language barrier, and overall are a lot more conspicuous when walking down the street.

There’s a big difference of living abroad and traveling, and I think ultimately I’m more of a fan of the latter – at least in this point in my life. It’s been a great experience to get to know a place like you get to know a person you live with, but ultimately my heart and soul are riddled with wanderlust.

Here’s to one day exploring that shore up above.

3 thoughts on “The Shore Up Above

  1. That is one stupendously awesome crazy kick-ass Around the World video. 3 years of selfies condensed into 3 seconds. What a mind-blowing way to showcase the world from the inside out.


  2. Okay. Hmmm. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I know one person who lives a life that I think qualifies as nomadic and adventurous to the extreme while still working at his “day job.”

    He could be anywhere at any given time … on top of the highest mountain in South America, filming fish under the ocean, taking in the northern lights. Best to let his photos tell his story.

    I’m including a link to them with one stipulation, PLEASE don’t go to Xian Hua Shan because of what you will see if you look through these photos. It is not only incredibly dangerous for the obvious reasons, but Charlie said the safety equipment is not only substandard, but it doesn’t even work the way it’s supposed to.

    His name is Charlie Giang and here’s the link:


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