When Does Travel Change Your Life?

Hangout Hotel, great accommodation in Singapore
March 6, 2010
Itinerary of a short trip to Kyushu, Japan
March 13, 2010

When Does Travel Change Your Life?


Thinking back, when do I start to like traveling? Now I can see there were 3 moments.

In my child hood my parents always took my brother and I to travel in Korea. Korea is very small country but it offers a lot place to visit. My desire for exploring is based on that experience unconsciously. So my first moment was in my childhood what my parents made.


Through my high school years I was (and still am) an amateur astronomer. Because I lived in Seoul, I had to go out to the field where no lights exist. I have been to every little dark country side, like small mountains, big mountains like Mt. Jiri and near farms.

Sometimes that was really horrifying and painful. When I went to Mt. Jiri in winter for taking astronomical pictures, I realized how people can freeze to death. The time I visited a big temple in Mt.Youngmun, that place freaked me out at deep night. Temple is supposed to be safe and relaxing place but was not for me. However during that time I experienced all these, I realized even if all of these freaked me out, I was kind of enjoying it. Now I know this was my second moment.


The very decisive moment happed in my very first backpacking.

In the year 2004, when I decided to backpacking through New Zealand, someone I though very closely said “that’s just a fancy way to say 3000$ vacation!” I was a college student and living in a serious budget so that really got me. Just before I live I still think ‘maybe I just drop this and saving money… I can do a lot with all this money.’

.

my traveling pants. it's gone now

About 9 days after spending time in NZ, the moment, I exactly remember the time and place. Beautiful late spring sunshine with light breeze, walking around my friend Diana’s place, looking down old traveling pants and white sneakers. I thought, this very step I take right now is the first and only step I’m taking here. Maybe I will never come here again (I did come back. Will get to it later.) and I’m here for experience whatever that is. So screw the 3000$ vacation crap. It is my adventure!


Yeah clearly that was my third and very decisive moment. That time I knew I’m going to be doing this for a very longtime. Turns out, I was right.


When was yours?

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+ .

18 Comments

  1. mylo says:

    Hi Juno! Thanks for sharing these wonderful moments! I only started a bit of traveling. So, I’m a ‘late traveler’. Both traveling and photography are the two most enjoyable experiences in my life.

    Traveling helps me me to become a better person. Seeing how life is lived helps me to become more tolerant and understanding. When I looked at poor kids, street beggars and less fortunate people…I really feel sad. It always makes me wonder….”Why are some people better than others??” So, these moments changes me forever!

    Cheers!
    mylo from Malaysia

    • Juno says:

      thanks Mylo for kind words.
      yes traveling helped me to be a better person too. wonderful experiences, right? and there’s no such thins as a “late traveler” Mylo! 😀 thank you again and hope we continue to share these wonderful moments

  2. sunny says:

    in my case, when i was child, my dad took me to some mountains in Japan every year. therefore i became to like the nature. this is the first history.
    then i have been to Spain when i was in univ., at that time, i was interested in foreign country, and i have lived in thailand for 5 years in the past after joining my company soon. so i visited many countries as Vietnam, Singapore, China, Korea, Pakistan, etc by business trip. of course i have been around inside thailand, too. this experience was effected my mind so much. and i’m living in taiwan now!
    i hope that i can visit much more countries.
    wishing to have your happy traveling everytime 😉

    • Juno says:

      great story Sunny!! i am kind of starting to live like that 🙂 nost just traveling around the world, actually live and work wherever. your story inpired me!! even i am an Asian there are so many places in Asia i’ve never been. Japan, i’ve been Fukuoka twice. charming little town indeed.
      yeah happy traveling is waiting for me! thanks again for sharing your story 🙂

  3. ciki says:

    when i married my husband! i only use to stay at 5star hotels before him. then i learnt the joy of packing my 40L lightweight backpack, and seeing the world 1st hand .. not as a tourist, but as one of the locals. till today, I like both sorts of experiences but at least I no longer “always need” to travel like a princess! life is great. life is a travel bag!

    • Juno says:

      love it! yes. life is a travel bag indeed.
      whatever that is, travel is constantly teaching us something, right? that’s the best part. i did stay in 3 something star hotel in few places, but i got quite lonely after a while. 😀
      thanks for sharing great story! looking forward to sharing experience with you Ciki 😀

  4. Ted Nelson says:

    When I was 10-11 years old I went on a two week hike in Michigan with my dad on this small island called Isle Royal National Park. It was an incredible memory and what I remember most was the great people we met on the hike. I love traveling to see new places, but the memories that stay with me the most are the people that are encountered along the way who you share the journey with.

    • Juno says:

      you are absolutely right! people, that counts.
      i love traveling so much because you meet share same value in life. from anywhere, everywhere. since then you love hiking and nature? 🙂
      thanks for sharing your great story Ted!

  5. Gerard Ward says:

    Great post!
    I think the turning point when you feel that travel changes your life is when you feel a little confused or sense some change in your environment. For example, for me travelling cahnged my mindset when I was on a trip to Canada to visit relatives living there, and saw a squirrel. How such a tiny animal could change a young boy’s perception on the world is a mystery, but I knew there was more to the world than just kangaroos.
    Travel encourages the traveller to adapt to new situations, which makes you a more understanding, humble and calm person (most of the time).

    • Juno says:

      @Gerard Ward
      What a great perspective! You are right Gerard. Something changes you is not a huge thing. you expected it is but it’s not. Like the first men on the moon, one step changed everything for me too. I grew up very much after my first backpacking. want to believe it makes me be a better person. 🙂 Thanks Gerard!

      Juno.

  6. LeslieTravel says:

    Don’t listen to the haters! There’s always someone who doesn’t want other people to be happy. For you, the investment in travel was clearly worth it! Great post. My travel turning point was going camping in Denali park in Alaska several years ago. It made me want to drop out of the rat race and travel around the world. A few years later, we left on our RTW trip 🙂

  7. Great post! And you’re absolutely right. It’s your life…make it what you want it to be.

    It’s hard for me to pinpoint exact moments in my life when I realized travel had changed me (or I had caught the travel bug). I started real young…like when I was 4. Travel was just sort of always accepted as part of my life. Some of my earliest memories were about growing up abroad.

    I suppose my biggest turning point was spending a semester of college in Thailand. While there, I had my first (mini) backpacking experiences and even got to experience a coup! But before any of that happened, I had to get there. A moment I will never forget is my first experience riding a Thai local bus on the way to the Lao border. From that moment on, I was hooked!

  8. Manashree says:

    Hi Juno,
    Loved reading your site. I am a hardcore traveller too! I didn’t really know when it all started! But, I know that I always loved travelling. Even when I was a small kid. So, the passion continued and I have travelled to far away countries all by myself, sometimes my work took me there and at other times, it was my deep rooted need to travel. I do write about my experiences of travelling solo to faraway countries. You may visit my site http://www.manashree.com if you’ld like to have a look at it.
    Keep writing…
    Love,
    Manashree

  9. Hilarye says:

    For me the big turning point was when I traveled and realized there was whole big beautiful world outside my sheltered bubble that I grew up in. Then I knew I was never going to go back. For me travel is a spiritual experience.

  10. Bianca says:

    I grew up in the middle of suburban Melbourne, where everything is the same. As a teenager even just catching the train into the city was an escape. I was itching to get out of there, see the world and experience different ways of life.

  11. Iain Mallory says:

    Interesting to hear your experiences Juno and how they effected you and created that wanderlust for further travel. I’ll have to go away now and consider if there are any specific moments which made me decide to travel.

  12. This has made me think. As a child I used to love travelling in a car with my sisters and my parents up the North Island of New Zealand to visit my aunties and uncles, cousins and grandparents in Whangerai. We would put music on in the car and sing our hearts out. The wind in our hair, the beautiful scenery whizzing by and the escapism was all so exhilerating. I still love road trips as much as I did as a child and love experiencing countries using different modes of transport (buses, trains, or cars) as it offers a wonderful chance to see the country and changing imagery sparks your imagination. Thanks for your post.

  13. Chris says:

    For me travel changed my life when I realised that I’m just as comfortable in a hostel full of strangers on the other side of the world as I am in my own living room – and the fact I can budget, organise and go through with something as large and complicated as a RTW trip 🙂

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