It’s Time to Spill the Bucket

It Takes Courage to Call It a Day
June 18, 2011
Calling all Americans!
June 26, 2011

It’s Time to Spill the Bucket

Dream catcher

It’s been a long time coming.

Maybe I was putting everything away by the excuse of being responsible. But who’s it for?

Recurring question that has been in my head for the last two and a half years. Who’s it for? and What’s it for?

As some of you may know, I’ve been working as a Mechanical Engineer for last two and a half years at a big corporation. It wasn’t easy. Both working and reaching the solution. Finally, I made my mind. Maybe I can say, finally, I became brave to dig the truth that was hiding deep down underneath of the dirt of conventional life. Now I have enough courage to say it out loud,

No more Cubic Farm for me.

I don’t belong here. I believed that for over two and a half years but I guess I wanted to stay in line like a good kid. Because I was damn scared. Shame on me so called a brave backpacker. However, that was how I educated for my entire life. People I surrounded with are having the exactly same life. Get into a good school, study hard, no break, graduate, get a good job and work there forever and ever. And get married in between. That is what considered as a successful life in Korea. No one cares that you are unhappy. Though, I have done more than a half of the perfect scenario. I went to a relatively good school, I studied my ass off, got two degrees, and I got in one of the most famous companies in the country. In the theory, I should be happier than anybody else but I was not. Not at all.

But, I didn’t just give up on me. I’ve tried really hard to make adjustments in my life to be more happy with what I got. A big fat pay check by horrifying work hours let me travel whenever I had time, even though my longest break is just for 5 days including weekend. I got into the world of travel blog and really devoted myself to it. Friends I met through traveling and blogging became my asset. I found a new passion in jazz dancing. I gave my parents some money every month, and I bought nice things for them. I’ve tried to find another way out for this situation. Don’t say I’m throwing all this away by a spur of the moment. I’ve tried, I really have. I have tried to be grateful for what I got. Gratification that force to born, that only gave me more sadness. I am a happy person by nature. I cannot handle that most of my days are filled with sad and anger. I’ve known the solution all along. Better than anybody, I knew I don’t belong here. It’s a time to,

Stop being a coward.

I thought, why this is so hard to just admit and move on to my passion. It is because I consider myself that I’m not a quitter. Responsibility is really important. I believe if I can’t do one thing right, then I cannot do another thing good as well. Quit and move on is not the solution, I believe. That is why I’ve tried so hard to do a good job at work because I don’t want to be a pain in their ass for not doing my job right. However as time goes by, my patience and responsibility reached the limit. I realized I slowly became this little monster saying ‘I don’t care.’ That is not me. I want to like what I do, and I want to be good at what I do over 12hours a day. I’m always reliable, responsible, smart and mature human being in any group of people. I think this was the hardest part and the biggest push to make my decision. I don’t want to be irresponsible. To people who I work with and most of all, to myself. It’s not fair. And I’ve realized that this is not me being a quitter, this is me more responsible for my own life and start the new future. I ain’t no quitter.

Being responsible and positive take a lot of energy. If you are not standing on the stage of happiness, you have to make yourself happy to function, right? Same thing. All the people I am with in my life, personally and professionally, are hard to say happy. Happiness is not their priority in life. What is? you might ask. That, I don’t know. So many people consider happiness is something that you can get if you are extremely lucky. When I said this, most of the conversation went to ‘Who in the world do whatever they want? Nobody.’ So I said ‘No that’s not true and why can’t I try?’ and I got ‘…’. They don’t pursuit happiness, they pursuit.. whatever everyone else does. Being unique is not welcome. I don’t want to spend energy to be positive and happy. I don’t want to be the peculiar one. I just want to be happy and surrounded by happy people who appreciated happiness.

Because I deserve Happiness.

It takes some time to believe I am still who I am and no one could change that. Nothing is wrong with pursuit happiness in person’s life. And it is my life. You know when you hear the same thing so many times then you start to believe that? That happened to me as well. By getting over this speed bump, I’ve heard so many horrible things about who I am as a person, how ridiculous my dream is, criticism about my dear friends, how I am a quitter and a loser, and how selfish I am. That, all from my own family. It is really hard not to believe that once you hear that from your loved ones and over and over again. I was already broken by two and a half years of trying and fixing, and now I became this, the biggest loser in the entire universe who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about family.

This is exactly what I was scared of for the whole time. I wrote ‘It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you anymore’ by frustration at some point. I knew I will be going to listen to this. Did not expect this much worse but I was afraid of an encounter with my parents. Because I knew their belief is exactly the same with what others’. I was expecting a little bit of support, though, but that crashed right after I spill the truth out. Should I blame them? Well, maybe.

Just like my earlier post: When life gives you lemons..? I was devastated. But the solution was simple all along. It IS my life and I cannot change who I am, no matter what. I can fake and try but that’s not going to be me in any way. If someone wants me to be not-myself, those are who don’t deserve to be included in my life. It is my life. I will stand up for myself. Just like the song “Stand” by Rascal Flatt,

When push comes to shove,

You taste what you’re made of.

You might bend, till you break.

Cause its all you can take.

On your knees you look up.

Decide you’ve had enough

You get mad you get strong

Wipe your hands shake it off

Then you Stand.

I will go my way. It sounds selfish but whoever had similar experiences would understand what I said and I bet a lot of you do.

I’m a believer, dreamer and a do-er. I dream and I plan. I’m a happy person and I’m optimistic. I have dreamt so long about the same thing. Honestly, sometimes I cannot say what kept me this long. Now it’s time to focus on this moment rather than dream about long time in the future.

It is time to spill the bucket.

No more Bucket ‘List’. It is time for bucket living.

I’ll be out in the wild world if you need me. Adios muchachos!

sparkling eyes -- with plans!

*Main Photo credit : Incomplete Connections

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+ .


  1. Ted Nelson says:

    Congratulations Juno on making a difficult decision and following your dream. See you in Chicago 🙂

  2. Melvin says:

    First of all… CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    I know that this is a very tough step to do! But you’ve just did the hardest one… The first one! All the others will just follow automatically… Believe me!

    You should know that you are not a quitter! You are starting something new… and something fantastic! The ones who are telling you, that you are a quitter just don’t know, as they have never done such a tough step like you are taking. But others have! I have as well and I can tell you, it’s another step in your personal development. A positive one!

    Others will find it hard to understand, but you will soon know that it was a tough and one of the best decisions of your life! Trust me & others who decided to do the same.

    You will always have the chance to go back to that “old” life, but trust me again… You won’t want to! This won’t make it easier for you, but if it would be easy, everyone would do it! 😉

    You are responsible! Responsible to find your own way in life… Just like everybody else! I’m sure you are prepared now! It always takes a while and for others, it takes forever. 😉 So don’t blame them.

    So go out & explore the world! You’ve deserved it & the happiness awaits you… Definitely at our home, any time! 😉

    I’m looking forward to read all your great stories in the next couple of weeks, months… years? 😉



    • Juno says:

      Melvin, thanks for comment and your words. Really, most parts of your words are what I have been thinking over two years now. You must know, you knew my thoughts and situation since the very beginning. And I’m grateful to have a friend like you!
      I am surrounded by so strict and conventional people, for such a long time, so it took quite a time to realize what I’m thinking now. Say no when everybody says Yes is not a wrong thing. By travel the world and being in this community also made me realize there are million other ways to live other than stuck in a cubic farm every single day and hate it every single day.
      Most of all, I’m really excited about the opportunities. My doors are wide open to everything. And I’m loving it.
      Thanks for all your support and really looking forward to share more stories and works with you!

  3. Sally says:

    Wow! Good for you, Juno. I know what a huge step this is for Westerners, but I can’t imagine doing this kind of thing in Korea. It’s totally against the grain. Kudos to you for taking the chance & committing yourself to your own happiness. Feel free to come visit me in China!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Sally. Yes indeed. I’m the only one leaving for ‘nothing’ apparently. Recently few people quit this company but only for Grad school or other position at same kind of company. There was a lot of barrier for sure, really. All the negativity made me weak and strong at the same time I think.
      China is on my list for sure, hope our paths will cross soon! 🙂

  4. Mikeachim says:

    The only person who can judge what makes you happy is you. And the only person who can act on that….is you.

    It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard to say “no” to the people you love when they try to change your mind. Sometimes it’s going to be awful.

    But you’re strong enough.
    We know it.
    You know it.

    It’s not a dream. A dream is something unreal. This isn’t a dream – it’s who you *are*.

    So get out there and be yourself. 😉

    • Juno says:

      It’s freakin hard to say no all the time and frankly it’s exhausting thing. To be ‘unique’ one everywhere. I’m enjoying it but it’s exhausting. So I’m going to surround myself to people who understand me and have similar mindset with me! So.. someday one day Chiang Mai tweetup, sir? 🙂
      Thanks, for your great words. I forgot how strong I am and had a hard time realized it back.
      It’s not dream anymore, it’s living now! 🙂

  5. ayngelina says:

    You do deserve happiness, I am so proud of you!

  6. ciki says:

    Very nice Juno! Proud of you.. time to spend those FAT paychecks and travel travel travel.. WOOHOO! haha…

    Dedicate Gui Boratto’s “No Turning Back” to you.. it’s minimal techno.. very chill.. I so dig the stuff;)

    • Juno says:

      Thanks girl! It’s not so FAT anymore cause I traveled so many times with that check… hahahaha! But I”ll be fine. There are million other ways to live a life! And I’m sure I’ll be much happier from now on.
      Thanks for the music as well. No turning back for sure!! Yay for KL meet up! (I won’t ditch you when I go KL next… Promise!!!! 🙂 )

  7. Good for you Juno! Congratulations!

  8. Juno, Congrats! I’m proud of you for following your heart. You are pursuing your dream and I’m sure it will end up being an amazing adventure. I’m excited for you and can’t wait to see where you go next. Please come to NYC this summer so I can show you my town 🙂

    • Juno says:

      Thanks.. 🙂 After I post this, the word liberating would fit. I’m sure I’ll be happier than ever. There are always ups and downs with every choice I make, but this – happiness is in an order for sure.
      NYC tweetup is happening finally! It’s time to make ‘Juno-go-round tweetup’ true!! 🙂

  9. Abby says:

    Brava chica!!! This is amazing news — congrats. I can’t wait to see where life takes you. I’ll be following your adventures closely. So happy for you!!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Abby. It was one damn hard decision! But I know it’s not gonna be the last tough one. Thanks for following my steps. Hopefully one day our paths cross!

  10. Ann Lombardi says:

    Congrats, Juno! Having lived in Korea myself as an English teacher, I understand how you must have hesitated about this decision, one quiote unusual for a woman in your culture. All the more reason that you should be congratulated for your courage and spunkiness! Yes, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and as hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    You are off on a wonderful adventure, and I and so many others support you all the way. Hope our paths cross one day. In the meantime, with your creativity, passion for travel, and kind heart, I am sure you will experience great things throughout this planet we share.

    Happy travels and all the best for good health and many more friendships along the path of life.

    Ann Lombardi from @thetripchicks

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Ann!! Yes, you lived here before. It is pretty big thing. Still most of people around me are nagging me about what I’m going to do, why I’m going, what’s wrong with me, why I throw my life away. It’s really tiring thing to deal with every single day but not for long!!
      what a great saying. yes. do and fail is much better than not do. at least I know that at least I’ve tried, right?

      I’m really excited about this opportunities I about to take. I will buy a big fat notepad and fill it with plans!

      Hope our paths cross someday Ann.

      • Ann says:

        Thought you might like this old Irish blessing, Juno:

        May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm on your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

        Happy globetrotting! Ann ~The Trip Chicks

  11. Theodora says:

    Congratulations on doing it. I think it must be an especially tough step to take coming from Korean culture. I don’t think you’ll look back, I don’t think you’ll have regrets and i’m pretty damn sure your parents will come round to your side. Well done, Juno.

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Theodora. It was tough, and it is tough every single day. But yes, I don’t think I will regret this decision. Ever since I really made my mind, I feel like become the person who I am more and more. It’s liberating.

  12. MaryAnne says:

    Wow! I’m so proud of you! From what I can gather, Korean culture is very similar to Chinese culture (where I am now) in what parents and society expect of you, of how a life is meant to progress. If you are breaking that custom and doing your own thing, you are brave and amazing. I wish my own students could follow their dreams too. I always hear from them about how their life paths have already been decided and I hear the resignation in their voices.

    You’ll be great. Well done indeed!

    • Juno says:

      Yes it is really similar and hard to tell which is worse 🙂
      Thanks for good words. It was certainly a hard decision to make, but I believe this is the best thing I’ve ever done so far. General opinion doesn’t matter, what I think matters.
      Hope your students will stand up for themselves when the time comes.

  13. Bird says:

    I am on the cusp of making the same decision so these are wise and welcome words to me….

    I’m starting to realise that life is about having as few regrets as possible when the final whistle blows. You are doing right by you and that’s what matters.

    Go live your dream!

    Birdie x

    • Juno says:

      Good for you Birdie! Cheers to your decision as well.
      Yes, we all have regrets, that’s no escape from that but it’s just matter of standard I think. I will have doubts and regrets later but it will be small, I assume. This is what is right for me for now, and for good.
      Good luck with your future as well!!

  14. Andy Jarosz says:

    Powerful stuff Juno and well done on getting your thoughts together and acting on them – I’m sure it feels better already! I can’t add much more than the others have already written, but I have no doubt that just as you have been inspired by many travel bloggers, you are also serving as a big inspiration to many others (especially in Korea) who secretly have the same dreams but are still afraid to take such a big step.
    Onwards and upwards!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Andy! I’ve been inspired by so many great people out there.. and yes, it would be great if I could be someone’s inspiration. There are so many things to see, so many things to do, and so many things to learn! Just world is so big to just sit in a cubicle.
      It’s really a nerve breaking for sure. I was really scared at some point of my decision but I’ve decided to trust my gut.
      Looking forward to meet you on the road!

  15. Stephen says:

    Congrats Juno! For being brave and following your dreams. You are not selfish nor are you irresponsible. You are living your life deliberately and to remain unhappy is irresponsible.

    Good luck in whatever paths your future takes you!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks for saying that Stephen! I need to believe that for my own good. It was really hard to get over, and I’m not sure I am over, but I’m really excited about all the opportunities.
      Can’t wait to see you on the road again! This time I will be the one on the road.

  16. That’s my girl! I am surprised you have had so much negativity thrown at you though. When I made my decision to leave people were surprised and didn’t completely understand, but I received a lot of support.

    One thing is for sure… you won’t regret it 🙂

    • Juno says:

      Yes, that was the worst day of my life so far. Can’t believe all the negativities as well. Really harsh. But, hope it will turn out okay. I’m still hurt from all the circumstances but, I”m sure I will be so happy! I am already happy about my future.
      Thanks chica!

  17. awwww, I am very happy for you. I think most of us that have been traveling for a long time all had this moment in our past. And you will be so much happier in a few months — promise.

    • Juno says:

      I bet. Can’t imagine how many people out there have the same experience. Not a pleasant thing but I think that made me stronger. 🙂
      Thanks Michael. Can’t wait to meet you on the road, wherever that is!

  18. IsabellesTravel says:

    Congratulations Juno!! It`s a tough decision, but you`ll get there, I know you will! And I for one can`t wait to see where your life and travels bring you… hopefully to Europe, so we can finally meet 🙂

    • Juno says:

      We’ll get there! Cheers for both of us Isa. I’m so excited for you as well. Hope to see your travel updates! Europe, or South Africa, we shall do the grand Tweetup!! 🙂

  19. Just have to echo the sentiment everyone’s here been saying. Congrats on making the tough decision! It must’ve been both a scary moment and an exhilirating one. Very happy for you 🙂

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Jill!! I was scary, a lot. It made me doubt my decision at some point as well. But my friends helped me got over the fear. It was just a fear. That’s all. 🙂
      Thanks for good words, and hopefully we could meet up somewhere in this world!

  20. jade says:

    Yay! Congrats- I love your phrasing- time for bucket living! Totally agree and good luck, hopefully our paths will cross somewhere on this big planet!

    • Juno says:

      Yay!! Thanks Jade! I love the phrase as well.. bucket living. Dream becomes reality! Hopefully I will catch you somewhere in the world as well!! Talk to you on twitter! 🙂

  21. flip says:

    juno.. congratulations on “bucket living”… im excited for you… im having goosebumps as i read your post especially when i saw stand by rascall flatts, its also one of my fave songs… see you on the road then 🙂

    • Juno says:

      It’s a damn good song! When I had a hard time to get over the harsh stuff, the song was like speak my mind. I got angry at some point and I’ve decided I had enough. So true.
      Hope to see you on the road!

  22. Good! You will be fine, you will see! I know what I’m talking about 😀 Good luck with everything 😉

  23. Earl says:

    Hey Juno – It IS your life and you definitely have the right to choose how you want to live it. As I mention quite often to those who question my decisions, “When this life comes to an end, I will be happy if I lived a life without regrets.”

    There is so much to see, so much to accomplish, so many ideas in your head I’m sure…so now is as good a time as any to get out there and create the life that will bring you the most happiness.

    Congratulations on your decision and I’m looking forward to seeing where the new road takes you!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks for the good words Earl. I’ve inspired so many people out there in so many ways, and that helped me to figure out what I really want to do. Yes, like you said, there are just too much to see, too many to do, too much to accomplish. I’ve learn a lot about myself while I was on the road, and I can’t wait to figure out more about me.

      All the possibilities and opportunities make me so excited and nervous as well. Because I don’t know what’s in front of me from now on. But I’m sure, I won’t have any regret, in the end.
      Thanks, and looking forward to meet you on the road. !

  24. Enda Ginting says:

    Hi Juno,

    You inspire me!! I hope one day I will be as brave as you are!

    Be happy, wherever you are, whatever you do.

    Cheers, Enda

  25. byya says:

    Congratulations Juno! U deserve a pat on your shoulder for taking the tough step towards your desired life. I could understand how u feel about travelling around the world when people surround you throw nasty comments and remarks about the idea. You know, typical and conventional Asians are not used to that kind of crazy idea of us. Only people with similar interest and passion would support and encourage u. U made the right decision to be only with the same-minded people. Best of luck in your travel adventure and I hope u see u when u are in Kuala Lumpur 🙂

  26. Pia & Kris says:

    Congrats Juno for making the hardest decision! You know, we have the same tradition: School – Work – Family. But F it! It’s cool to go against the current, right? Follow your heart, Reach your dreams! But most of all, be happy! That’s the most important thing!

    We envy you for your courage and we hope someday we can also do what you did! Kudos to you Juno! Hit us up when you decide to visit The Philippines!


    • Juno says:

      Thanks girls!
      There’s nothing to do wrong with doing the same as tradition, if that suits u, in my opinion. But in my case, it’s not working. I’ve tried but it just didn’t work. I’m happy for people that having conventional life, and enjoying it. I’m just following my steps regardless what others do.
      Good luck with your futures, and I”m rooting for you. Hope to see you girls in the Philippines someday!

  27. Kevin says:

    Right ON! Yes, it’s a big leap and even bigger in your culture. But I still think family gets over these things. It’s a shock to them because they aren’t seeing the world with your eyes. And they may never see it that way. But eventually they will see you blossom and see how happy you are. That’s what will win them over. (though they may still worry and annoy you with opinions or advice.) That happened for me for YEARS and only recently have they stopped bugging me about their ideas of what I should be doing. I love that: spill the bucket! See you out here!

    • Juno says:

      RIGHT ON!! Hope they will, and I’m sure they will if they see me how happy I am. But for someone who is having conventional life for over 60 years, I think I am pretty weird. Well, hope they understand me better. And I’ll try understand them better.
      Hope to see you somewhere in the world other than Se