Three Years of Bucket Living: Why I Travel

Cunnamulla Fella
Oh he’s the Cunnamulla fella Yes he’s the Cunnamulla fella
June 27, 2014
Bathing in the Great Artesian Basin bore in Charlotte Plains
The Great Artesian Basin: The Reason Why Australia Exists
July 7, 2014

Three Years of Bucket Living: Why I Travel

James Squire Stow Away

Three Years of Bucket Living: Why I Travel

Three years ago today I left my engineering office for good. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in my future, but I decided to stop being a baby and take control of my own happiness. One week later I departed for my trip to the US and haven’t stopped moving ever since. It’s not true in a literal sense because I travel quite slowly, settling down for a few months at a time, visiting families and such. But I’m still on a quest to find a home and build my own path.

It’s been quite colorful, these past three years. My life at the office was drab and gray, but now I feel pain and joy in full spectrum. My life is back in Technicolor again.

I’ve been fortunate to see some extraordinary things along the way. I’ve been to the Arctic and the Outback, to the African desert and ancient Icelandic glaciers, and I found out there are lessons to be learned, inspirations to be found, and stories to be heard in every corner of the world. And no matter what scale of life people live in, they have their own stories to tell.

People often ask why I travel. It used to be simple: I wanted to see different places. Growing up in a small peninsular country, I didn’t know much about the world. Moreover, I wasn’t really interested in geography or history. I was more of a science girl. I developed a curiosity for the outside world on my own and tried my best to experience different things. But I guess it wasn’t enough. So I set off to see the world, and I’m glad I did.

Why I travel? To find similarities and differences. I always thought Koreans were peculiar people with a unique history, culture, and language. I thought no one could possibly understand our culture, our food, language, and customs, and no one would. But I found that lots of places, some on the other side of the globe, practiced similar customs as we did. We had similar life values, similar customs, and similar personalities. Learning similarities and differences between cultures has been a great joy on my journey.

 

The great Australian Outback

The great Australian Outback

The great Australian Outback

Why I travel? Through travel I can be more true to myself. I always encourage people, especially girls, to travel solo at least once in their lifetime. Domestic or international, alone. It was a tremendous experience for me, and what informs who I am to this day. One’s sense of responsibilities is totally different, I always say, when you are alone on the road. And you can truly find out who you really are.

Through the years I visited many countries and numerous cities and towns. I always try to find positive side about each places, and I normally can, but some places are just closer to my heart. The Australian Outback for instance. I spent five days in Queensland’s Outback last week. Going from Brisbane to Charleville was a big change in environment. The Outback is rough, dry, and frankly it’s in the middle of nowhere. But the entire time all I could think was, ‘I have to come back’. I loved every minute of it. Somewhere in Cunnamulla I wondered, ‘Why do I love this place so much?’

In the Alaskan Arctic expedition I had a similar discussion with Nikolai, our driver. He’s originally from Russia but settled in Coldfoot, an Arctic town. By average standards, it is considered a harsh place to live, but he was in love with it. Alaska has also remained one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. Nikolai said, “People are more honest here,” and that pretty much sums up another reason to travel: the people. When I was talking to David, one of the Kooma people in Cummanulla, I said to him that I loved being there, that the scenery was so beautiful. Pieta Mills, who was taking me around in Cunnamulla added. “Beautiful place, beautiful people.”

The Outback or the Arctic isn’t for everyone. Both for visiting or for living in. They’re places where you need to have a fly-in doctor and School of Distance Learning. A mailman only comes once a week, and you have to deal with slow Wi-Fi. As Kevin, owner of a farm outside of Charleville, Queensland, said,

 

“When we break our leg, we pray to God”.

 

Conditions can be harsh and unlivable. But one thing for sure is that people are more honest and kind in this kind of environment. It’s simple when you think about it. If you are in a place with a shortage of water or negative 40 degrees, you have to be honest with what you feel and need to know exactly what you need. When you bump into someone on the street, you can’t just glance and walk away, because you’ll meet the same person again on the other side of town. Everyone naturally understands the importance of helping each other. Indeed people are beautiful here. In some way, the harsh condition encourages them to be better people.

Dipping in the Great Artesian Basin bore in Cunnamulla

Dipping in the Great Artesian Basin bore in Cunnamulla

I feel more honest when I’m on the road, especially when I’m in these kinds of ‘harsh’ places. I don’t have to care about what to wear or how I look. Survival is more important that appearance. I learn to appreciate my family and friends. I see the greatness of nature, and the harmony. I make the best out of what I have in my own way. I also learn how to cope with unexpected situations. It helps me think what’s more important and what’s not in life.

Long story short, I travel because I get to learn more about what kind of person I am. I can be more honest with myself. Life is challenging enough even with a daily routine, and the challenge is grater when you don’t have a straight path into the future. I have my ups and downs in all the rainbow’s many colors, but at least I don’t lie to myself. I would never know all of these about myself if I was still working at the office, surrounded by gray. Or maybe I would have eventually, but not like this.

Three years of Bucket Living. It’s been hard but I can’t think of myself without this path.

Cheers to many more years of honesty!

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

38 Comments

  1. emiee says:

    Your site/blog: Words and pictures make me appreciate the world a little more. Thank you!

  2. Ayngelina says:

    Wow time flies, I remember reading your site 3 years ago and so much has changed since then. Congratulations on 3 years!

  3. Alex says:

    Congratulations on three years of travel Juno! I recently celebrated the same anniversary, it feels amazing 🙂 Here’s to another three more!

  4. jilly w says:

    This is so inspiring!

  5. Simon says:

    Gosh! It seemed yesterday and it’s been three years already!

    Perhaps because we’ve been in touch for such a long time, when you were still ‘trapped in your cubicle’, I can tell how much you changed and what an amazing journey you’ve done.
    Not for the many countries visited, but for all the things you’ve discovered about yourself.
    Yes, life is full of colour, and I’m so glad you’ve experienced all of its shades.

    • Juno Kim says:

      Thanks Simon. You’re one of the first ‘travel’ friends I met online, and so glad we’re still keeping in contact. So much have been changed, and I’m glad I met such an inspiring people along the way, including you! 🙂

  6. Juno, when I heard you first tell your story at AWE, I was so moved. I am equally moved today. Congratulations on three years!! <3

  7. Lauren says:

    Congratulations to 3 years of travel! I’m a relatively new reader of your blog, but I wish you many more happy travels and I’m going to have to get myself caught up on your past journeys!

  8. Laura says:

    I love the idea of living life in Technicolor. Very inspirational.

  9. Congrats on 3 years of travel! Discovering the similarities between cultures and peoples across the globe certainly rings true and resonates with us. Cheers!

    • Juno Kim says:

      Thanks Mindy and Ligeia! It feels special to me, maybe because I grew up in a small country that still a lot of people don’t know where it is. 🙂

  10. Susan says:

    Congrats on an amazing life choice. I love the idea of living your bucket list. Keep travelling!

  11. Dale says:

    Can’t believe it’s been three full years! It seems like only yesterday I saw you’re name popping up everyone on peoples blogs and on Twitter and I thought to myself ‘Who is Juno?’, I got reading your blog and soon started following via RSS.

    I love your pictures always, but it’s how you look at people with your mind that I love the most. You’re always looking to get closer to a country through the people you meet and it’s the truth and reality of those people and their lives that make it all worth while.

    • Juno Kim says:

      Hi Dale, thanks for your kind words. That means a lot to me 🙂 That’s exactly what I’m looking for during my travels, and I’m glad to hear that you can see it clearly.
      It’s not the easiest path, but at least I choose to be on it. Thanks again, and cheers to you as well! 🙂

  12. Tee says:

    Amazing, and congrats on 3 years! So, I know this is always a difficult question to answer, but what are your most memorable cities visited? 🙂

    • Juno Kim says:

      Hey Tee, Thanks! Yes that is a hard question to answer. 🙂 Anchorage (Alaska, USA) is definitely one of them, Charleville (Queensland, Australia), Wroclaw (Poland), and Orvieto (Italy) are some of them! But I have many more. 🙂

  13. Angie Away says:

    Congrats on passing the 3-year mark! I’m at 3.5 years and your post really resonated with me. Keep up the good work and safe travels as your journey continues!

  14. […] Three Years of Bucket Living: Why I Travel “I always thought Koreans were peculiar people with a unique history, culture, and language. I thought no one could possibly understand our culture, our food, language, and customs, and no one would. But I found that lots of places, some on the other side of the globe, practiced similar customs as we did. We had similar life values, similar customs, and similar personalities. Learning similarities and differences between cultures has been a great joy on my journey.” […]

  15. I know how you feel!

    I have been on the road for 2.5 years now and never a second it has been bored. Congrats on the 3 years mark, wish u more to come! 😀

  16. Ali says:

    Congrats on 3 years Juno! I’m so happy for you that you set out on this journey to explore the world. I love that you’ve been able to find so many similarities in different parts of the world along with the differences that make places so unique.

    • Juno Kim says:

      Thanks Ali! Can’t believe we haven’t met after all these years. But I met your better half, so, almost! 🙂 Cheers to your wonderful journey as well Ali.

  17. Aggy says:

    Such a wonderful and honest post Juno, hope you will have many colours in your life and I’m so glad to be able to cross path with you every now and then 🙂

  18. Danielle says:

    Everything you said is so true! Traveling alone for the first time. It really teaches you who you are.

  19. Nguyen says:

    I agree with you. Travel makes us know more about ourself. I definitely think this is true. We learn a lot from Travelling around and it helps us sty open minded and be kind to others.

  20. […] I just hit three years two weeks ago! I’ve been traveling on and off since I was in University, but I set off for the long-term travel three years ago. You can read my remark in this blog post : http://runawayjuno.com/runaway-tales/three-years-bucket-living-travel/ […]

  21. Rebekah says:

    Congratulations on 3 years. That is quite an accomplishment. I love how you’ve fallen in love with some unique places, I’ve never thought much about the outback before but now I’m a bit intriguedh. Alaska has been high on my travel list for awhile

  22. Stacia says:

    I know I’m a bit late, but congratulations on 4 years of travel, Juno! 🙂 I enjoy your clear & conversational writing tremendously! It’s a pleasure to meet another storyteller! Here’s to HAPPY TRAVELS in 2016! 🙂

  23. Congrates for three years. Traveling is the thing which i love most. In fact my whole family involved in this.

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