On the way: across Korea on a bicycle

We’ve all heard it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. And while I know this to be true, it’s sometimes easy to forget with the anticipation of heading somewhere new and exciting.

Recently, I completed my first stint of long-distance cycling: from Seoul to Busan in 6 1/2 days. It was far from easy. Moments of blissful highs as I whizzed past gorgeous, verdant countryside were sandwiched between all-consuming lows, as my tired, sweaty body grappled with the task of wheeling my bike up yet another mountain pass or my brain processed yet another wrong turn. Anger, tears, despair, frustration, and whooping yells of delight- I experienced it all!

I’ll remain forever grateful to all the locals who helped point me in the right direction, filled up my water bottles or let me use their washroom, or really thought carefully in order to recommend a good camping spot.

Regarding these adorable ladies, I’m grateful for the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and chamhoe melons they insisted upon feeding me! They wanted a picture with me after, I hope they won’t mind if I share it. :

I learned a lot. Even in just a few short days, I know I have become more resourceful and better at coping with adversity. The words of encouragement of a dear friend rang in my ears whenever I felt myself growing demoralized: “Find some shade, find somewhere to sit down. Drink some water, and think. You’re gonna be fine. You’ll figure it out.”

And I did, and I will.

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17 thoughts on “On the way: across Korea on a bicycle

    • Ah, cool!! That’s very exciting. I would recommend following Jan Boonstra’s route instead, which sometimes but not always uses the Sadaegang (Four Rivers) trails. http://user.chollian.net/~boonstra/korea/sebu.htm The four rivers trails sometimes come to unexpected and frustrating ends, or are under construction with re-routing info only in Korean. Jan will email excellent detailed maps upon request, so you can always check it out and decide which route you prefer. Definitely have lots of water! Do you plan to camp, stay in hostels, what are you thinking?

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      • We were going to try the 4 rivers route and use GPS and to get around the problem areas. We want the cycle passport stamps as a memento! I will contact Jan, too, for backup, thanks for the heads-up.
        We set off tomorrow for Yeoju, and we’re hoping to stay in hotels all the way. We’ve got a luxurious pad booked in Busan for a week’s recovery on the beach. Setting off in the morning, yippee!

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