3 Months Left in Korea

by Mike Still
3 Months Left in Korea

Its hard to believe that I’m down to my final 3 months in South Korea.  The last 3 years have had plenty of ups and downs with countless adventures in between.  As my final weeks dwindle away I feel very much the same as I did sitting home in America waiting to come to Korea.  I could recap everything in this country I’ve called home but would sit here nostalgic for days.  So instead of focusing on the past I’m looking towards my future.

Fear, confusion and doubt have begun to settle in before leaving Korea.

Fear, confusion and doubt have begun to settle in before leaving Korea.  When planning my next big adventure I was excited about not knowing and not truly planning very much.  But now I find myself contemplating if this is the right move, to step into the world and see where the wind takes me.  I will be leaving behind a wonderful life that I’ve built for myself in Seoul and once again be stepping into the great wide unknown.  Right now the plan isn’t to return home to the states, but maybe it should be?

I haven’t stepped foot on American turf in almost 2 years.  Sure, I saw my family last January for my birthday, but now I stand ready to face a new year with only a digital connection to anything I’ve ever held dear; and frankly, it’s a little scary.  I know that I will come out of this journey stronger and better than I entered it; I will conquer this fear, confusion, and doubt.  

Surely along the way I’ll make new friends, but will they be single serving friends like those we all hate making in hostels?  Okay that’s a lie. I actually love hostels and hanging out with those fast friends is a blast.  But it’s inherently transient and that’s half the reason it’s so much fun.  Many of those hostel goers are discovering themselves and I had thought I had already done that.  Right?  I am a teacher and I love it.  But do is that really me?

Yes.  It definitely is me.  I’m passionate about education and will always be involved in the field.  I finished my graduate program and so now I am a master, right? A master in the art of international teaching who is taking a temporary break from teaching to explore the rest of Asia.  

I can still step away for a moment and take a sabbatical.  That’s what I’m really doing I guess.  By definition a sabbatical is given every 7 years and I’ve been in the field since graduation at 22 so I’m due.  I first heard the word back when I was in college and always thought taking a multi-month vacation was a worthy of most bucket lists.  To be able to step away and travel the world for a few months.  

In a month I’ll turn 31.  I don’t usually put much stock on age but generations matter and so does life experience.  My 20’s are over.  They have been for a full year and I tell you what.  The 30’s are looking pretty damn good.  But they will be starting with much confusion, doubt and in all likelihood, fear.  The unknown can be scary but the amazing thing is it doesn’t have to stay that way.

One of the topics I studied over the last year and a half was the Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck.  Its a paradigm shift for reinforcing students by encouraging hard work and teaching them that mistakes and failure are how we learn.  Leaving Korea is like stepping into a great wide unknown where I will meet mistakes and fail.  But in the end that is what will make me stronger  

It feels like a coming of age.  I don’t entirely know where I’m going.  Well, there’s a general direction and plan.  But I don’t know where I’ll end up.  What I do know is that wherever I end up, there’ll I’ll be and along the way I’ll have been doing that which has merely been a dream.  

Let’s just hope there aren’t too many nightmares ahead.  But, even if there are, they too shall pass.  The sun will rise again and I will be stronger because of it. 

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Mike Still
Mike is a travel enthusiast, photographer and teacher. He loves adventure travel, meeting the locals and exploring new culture. As an outdoor enthusiast you can often find him hiking mountains or exploring forests trying to capture the beauty of mother nature. In 2013 he founded www.LiveTravelTeach.com as he left his home in America and has been teaching or traveling around the world ever since!

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Ryan Biddulph December 29, 2016 - 3:27 am

Hi Mike,

You’ll be good to go bro 😉 I SO know what it feels like though, as we traveled for about 2 years straight – mainly SE Asia – before heading home to the States. All went OK. And each successive trip made it easier to both travel abroad, and to return home. It’s like my fears dissolved more into love when I went home and then, traveled to new spots around the world.

Signing off from beautiful NYC.


Mike Still January 1, 2017 - 6:25 pm

Ryan, this is really insightful and I appreciate the support!


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