My family has strong Midwestern roots, and with that, there is a deep social perspective of what work and life are. While it borders on cliche to sum it up as “you go to school, get a job, married, house, kids…”, it really has some truth. Wanderlust is left to bored trust fund babies and whatever travel pinings we have are satiated with watching the Discovery Channel or reading travel blogs of other people visiting the Great Wall and taking pictures of photobombing llamas at Machu Pichu.
Not this guy.
College opened up a completely new world to me. International students once regarded as “exotic” and “different” were now “friends with interesting stories”. Midway through my freshman year, I started the planning of merging a newfound love of biking and the promise of travel with multi-month biking trip through Europe. It was a bold plan considering the lack of previous experience and funds. The naivety of youth allowed me to blithely forge ahead armed only with a Let’s Go Europe book as my travel bible and savings scrounged from medical studies and odd jobs.
I had a blast and my initial foray into international travel turned into several more racking up visits to much of Western Europe and eventually adding East Germany and the Soviet Union.
Carefree young adulthood turned more serious with a family and career responsibilities, working to build equity in both. Frankly, travel beyond what would placate young children (and a precarious bank account) never entered our mind. So, when my wife’s father got sick and with the realization of his condition he uttered, “There was so much more I wanted to do”, we made up our minds that waiting until “later” might not ever happen.
Our eldest son, Eli, had been thinking about a homeland tour for some time now. A South
Korean adoptee, he had been looking at options to visit. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to have all of us experience what Korea had to offer. Seoul was an obvious choice since it had the most to offer for sightseeing and serves as the headquarters for the South Korean office of our sons’ adoption agency, Holt. Busan was added since Eli had been born there, plus with its numerous beaches and national parks, it had many options to explore. Beijing, China, was added as a compliment to our travel to the Far East.