Thoughts on Love & Leaving Korea

by Mike Still
Thoughts on Love & Leaving Korea

Love is a funny thing.  Sometimes it shows you the path to the rest of your life and at others it shrouds the future for fear of losing that beautiful connection that two souls have created.  I find myself torn in two vastly different directions and my emotions will surely be the biggest victim of whatever comes.

I love my job, I love Korea (at times) and I love living in Asia but I know deep down that these loves are temporal and will one day fade.  My tumultuous days being frustrated by adjussi’s and strange Korean customs convince me to leave Korea and start the next adventure.  But then I turn the page and there is a stronger, more vibrant love that keeps me here.  The love for another is stronger than any love of a thing or a place.  When two people share their love it is the most beautiful creation on Earth.  So what happens if that love too is fleeting?


Small Lagoon, El Nido, Philippines Photo by Ronda Christensen

It is scary to think about the likelihood (or lack thereof) of my current relationship continuing after Korea.  For a smattering of reasons ranging from personal to geographical we are questioning the longevity of our current love.  Having just turned 30,I find myself finished with that funny childhood phase of love yet I struggle to understand love even more than in my first summer romance.


Saryangdo, South Korea

Life is pulling me.  My ambitions and dreams lead me towards a beautiful new horizon.  But what if my partner’s aspirations pull her in the opposite direction.  I recently wrote about the likelihood of leaving Korea and suddenly find myself trying to deal with the consequences of these choices.  After Korea I will travel for an undetermined length of time and after that who knows.  I’m leaning towards moving to another country (possibly Europe) rather than settling back down stateside but my partner is ready to return home.  

In a previous lifetime the love of my life never wanted children.  I, a teacher, absolutely adore kids and have looked forward to fatherhood my whole life.  In spite of this adoration, in those moments I knew that I would be happy with her regardless of kids.  I found my hopes and dreams changing to match hers so we could be life partners.  Suddenly I saw myself in a different light, my students were my children.  Did I truly need to burden myself with my own?  Obviously that relationship ended and in spite of the heartbreak it was evident that I was happier to be able to follow a path that will hopefully lead to a family of my own.  So if my dream and my partner go separate ways which one do I follow?  


Pingxi, Taiwan

I don’t have an answer yet but it makes me think of a post I wrote years ago about a favorite quote by Deepak Chopra.  He analyzes Gautama Buddha’s statement proclaiming “If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.”  

Rereading my pre-Korean post brings a heavy heart.  I mention saying my favorite farewell “until next time” to a former student.  He was one of my last encounters in America and sadly has left this world.  RIP Matt.  Your life was cut tragically short but your memory will live on forever.  

I hope with all of my heart that my current love isn’t ephemeral.  For a thousand reasons and then a thousand more I want this to be the an everlasting love.  I long for that eternal entanglement of Seouls.  


Night Hiking – Ansan, Seoul

Seoul certainly has left its imprint on my soul and so has my partner.  Only time will tell which loves I one day bring with me on that plane.  Regardless of the future I know that our precious moments have created an ‘abundance of joy for each other [and] have been worthwhile.’

We are travelers on a cosmic journey – stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. But the expressions of life are ephemeral, momentary, transient. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, once said,    tweet

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky, rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.” tweet

We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile. tweet

-Deepak Chopra tweet


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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 as he left his home in America and has been teaching or traveling around the world ever since!

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