In fact, I’m not really perfect.
A long time ago, I bragged about how I was born to travel. Those five facts are still alive, holding me up every single day on the road. After posting the article, many people told me (and you can see it from the comments) that I was very lucky. I don’t doubt, I am very grateful for my health and many other things I have. That’s just because I’m a glass half full kind of person (I wonder what idiom people used in the old days when before glass was invented), not because I really am perfect. I had my difficulties and challenges that I’m still dealing with to this day.
I’m almost blind without my contact lenses/glasses
My first glasses was a very typical silver colour, round shape. I got it when I was in third grade. And sadly, the tradition has been continued to this day. I first tried soft lens when I was in middle school, because I was tired of glasses and it made my eyes look very small (because I wore very thick glasses). It was scary at first, but very liberating. In college, I wanted to try hard contact lens. It was three times more expensive than the soft ones, but supposedly it last long and more comfortable to the eyes. It dramatically failed. One morning, I couldn’t see anything because my eyes were super swollen. The lens scratched my eyeballs. I had to go to the eye doctor for a week, and then never wore contact lens for next six months or so. But, I’m over it now. I can’t do anything without my contact lens.
My eyesight is -8.00 and -6.00, if the number means anything to you. It is quite bad. My glasses is very thick, even though I use a high quality ones. If I don’t wear anything, I can only see silhouettes but not the details.
I can’t swim without a swim goggle. The tiniest dirt, sand or the smallest salt water drop can make me cry like a baby. If I lost one of my contact lens on the sink, I need someone else’s help to locate them because, obviously, I can’t see. I need to hike with a bottle of saline solution and a glasses case, because I can’t sleep with my lens on. I love going in sauna room, but the heat sucks all the moisture out of my contacts, and I can’t wear glasses to sauna because the heat will ruin the frame. The contact lens make eyes tired more easily, but I can’t wear sunglasses without them. If you are asking, ‘why don’t you get a prescription sunglasses?’, I will answer this in next paragraph.
Wearing glasses/ contact lens is not only very inconvenient, but also it costs a lot. Because my eyesight is bad, I can’t use ‘normal’ lens for my glasses. It will be too heavy and thick. Each pair (glasses and contact lens) cost me $100+ every time. A bottle of saline solution is about $7, and it is double the price in Europe (it’s just damn hard to find in Europe).
I need a regular health checkup
Don’t get me wrong; I am very healthy. I’ve never been ill. I’m very grateful for the healthy figure I have. But, I have to keep checking up on a few issues that I got inherited. Some things are out of my control. No matter how careful I am at keeping myself healthy, I still need to keep an extra eye on. (Of course I recommend everyone to check up once in a while even if they are young.) Health issues are directly connected to money. The insurance is useless for a ‘check up’. They only want to be responsible at (at least) if something happen to the customers, and not when they want to find out if they are okay. The check up with expensive medical machines are inevitably expensive. But what can I do? It’s just a small sacrifice I have to make to live long and healthy. Investment for future, I would say.
I was born in Korea
It’s amazing to see how Europeans and Americans are open minded about traveling. They could go on a high school trip to neighboring countries, and they didn’t even need a passport. Americans gave me the similar impressions with their Canada and Mexico trip stories. International travel with a car still feels surreal to me.
Because of the geographic feature, Korea never has been open to traveling. There was a period of time several hundreds years ago, that the King actually set a law not to accept any foreign influence. Traveling to the closest neighboring countries: Japan and China, (not North Korea) still is a big deal. Budget airlines connecting those countries appeared not too long ago. Driving and flying are two very different methods of traveling. There’s no countries that Koreans can go with their car. Korea is a small, and isolated country.
I wasn’t born in the family who are specially fond of traveling. My parents took us to mountains and beaches when we were growing up, but for older generation Koreans, traveling is only for when you are young or when you have a family with young kids. Leisurely travel for yourself wasn’t really acceptable or common back then. There was no money to spend on traveling and flight tickets. And, that mindset of my parent hasn’t changed. Traveling the world is as equally bad as, I don’t know, committing a crime or something. I’m the ugly duckling who didn’t grow up to be swan yet in my family. This friction between family is a big setback in my life. It really bothers me, but I’m trying to keep in balanced. But it’s not so easy as well.
My first language is Korean
It took me many painful years to get to this level of English. I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not too bad. Because of the reason I mentioned just above, foreign language wasn’t too powerful in Korean peninsula, except Chinese characters. I didn’t need it. English always has existed near me, but I didn’t see that I needed to master other languages. Just because I had no occasion to use it.
The very first time I got interested in English was 2004. I panicked more than enough times when I first went to an English speaking country. A conversation with Irish girl made me sweating on my back, and I missed a few meetups because I couldn’t figure out what ‘quarter of 8pm’ meant (is it 8:15pm or 7:45pm?). But English slowly got me, and I got to know the joy of learning it as a foreign language. But I do really love using English. It opened up a huge world for me. I’m still learning, and picking up customs whenever I’m in English speaking countries. I had a few (a lot) awkward encounters with some random people, but I think I’m doing okay.
Last but not least…
I’m a female traveler
We all know what that means, don’t you, ladies? Monthly crankiness is inevitable.
This is the point of view as a half glass empty kind of a person in me. These facts delayed my starting point, but I grew out of it. It never stopped me before, and it won’t be. Everyone has their challenges, no matter what their daily job is. There are much bigger realities in life than career. Health, finance, family, religion and so on. The important thing is what is in your priority list. ‘I wasn’t born with it’ cannot be the excuse for everything. We couldn’t choose which country to be born and the talents to be given. Maybe I wasn’t a born traveler, but I made it happen because I wanted to. I’ve heard so many, just like I used to, complaints about why they couldn’t do something because of the natural conditions they were born with. Why don’t we make the best out of things we already have? We can aim high and try to achieve. Happiness is a state of mind!
Now, let’s go out and explore!