I have been back in the USA for a little over a month and am readjusting to life’s daily obstacles. Recently I heard one of my friends said this about me.
“He ran away from his problems and went to South Korea.”
For a quick minute, it got me thinking
OH SHIT. Did I really?
If you are reading my blog for the first time here is some background:
Years leading up to Teaching English in South Korea
For a few years prior to leaving for South Korea, I knew something MUST change. Unfortunately, I felt paralyzed. For a while, I intentionally tried to gain weight. My logic was sound. Gaining weight was something I could do to make me hit a bottom. This, in turn, would force me to perform a transformation overnight. Fortunately, nothing extremely dramatic happened. I gained 30 unnecessary pounds of fat over a few years. The 30 pounds has come off through the slow and steady grind to the base of the mountain of life I want to climb. Oh yea and my sarcasm is impossible to detect. My logic was sound was sarcasm.
Why Did I Leave a “Good” Life
There was a set of obstacles I was not excited to tackle in the USA. Climbing the corporate ladder in a job that didn’t excite me was one of them. Marriage and starting a family didn’t excite me either. Teaching English and living in South Korea checked all my boxes of obstacles that excited me. Will climbing the corporate ladder, starting a family, and having kids excite me one day? Maybe. The only thing I know for sure is the job was not the problem. My perception of the job was the problem.
December 2014 I left my job on the grind up the corporate ladder. It was a job that was in a good company with good health care and good retirement plan. December 2015 I left the world I knew behind and headed for South Korea. The Path of Least Resistance is something I let rule my life more and more as it unfolded. I had just enough awareness to realize my small decisions in daily life were producing a lower output than desired.
Let’s get this straight. There is no perfect time for you to pick up and leave.
Was it the perfect time in my life?
Absolutely not. At the time I had a great girlfriend, friends, and family I love, and a life I was comfortable with. All things were “good” except I had an itch. An itch that could only be scratched by a dramatic change of lifestyle and scenery.
“The traffic signs of life will never all be green at once.” – Tim Ferriss
Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and think about what you would regret more.
A chance you took or a chance NOT taken.
RESUME to Present Day:
I recentered myself after thinking about my friend’s comment. Then, I reaffirmed my prior conviction. Sure, I had problems that I left unsolved in the USA. However, this was not the reason I got on the plane and flew 7,000 miles to live in a completely foreign country. If I ran away from my problems expecting South Korea to be a blissful vacation; my year would have SUCKED. I learned that lesson a year earlier when I moved to San Diego.
Dinner time on my casual summer bike ride from Changwon to Seoul. Couple hundred miles in 6 Days
Korean Restaurant Menu
BUT WHERE IS THE ENGLISH?! WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?!
Coachable Moment: DO NOT RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS EXPECTING PROBLEMS TO DISAPPEAR. You should “run away” to overcome obstacles that you want to take on in South Korea. The only guarantee I will give is this. There will be obstacles to face living and teaching in South Korea. Some old obstacles will follow you and some new ones will arise, like the restaurant sign above.
My advice, think long and hard about this life decision. If you have any level of an inner voice saying you have to do it. Take the Nike motto and JUST DO IT. Jump in head first and commit to the perceived good and the perceived bad for one year. It has made me see the world through a different lens that I would have never experienced if I had stayed on the “traditional” path.
Has every day been a day at the beach? No way, but that isn’t what makes me happy.
Being at the bottom of a mountain I want to climb makes me happy.
If South Korea is part of your life mountain metaphor I will look forward to seeing you here.
“Progress = Happiness” Tony Robbins