Rennaissance

10:05 PM Jessica Montgomery 0 Comments

'The only source of knowledge is experience.' -Albert Einstein

This past August I had to say goodbye to a big group of EPIKers as their contracts concluded. One of them being my international-best friend. It was a rough departure to say the least, but one thing I've learned from all of this is how small the world truly is. You can only go so far around before you start creeping up on from which you came.

The past few weeks and months have brought about more departures. Many of my hagwon (private academies) friends have been moving on to new adventures and it's been a bittersweet swell of emotions. Many of them I just started getting closer to. I met most of them through other avenues here in Korea, outside of EPIK orientation obviously. I met them through art, theatre, dance, or other outlets. The hagwon expats have a culture all their own and have inspired and encouraged me just as much as my EPIK family, and friends back home.

Hearing about their compelling pasts and future exploits planted seeds of inspiration in regards to my own future post-Korea. I have friends that have left Korea (EPIK and otherwise) that are off chasing some incredible stories: I have a friend who just took a cross-country train trip across USA, I have a friend moving to Prague, I have a friend living in Istanbul, I have a friend who spent a month trekking across Mongolia, I have a friend who volunteered testing pregnant women for HIV in Uganda, I have a friend who bought a house on her own, I have friends who have joined The Peace Corps, I have a friend teaching Middle School, I have a friend pioneering scientific research, I have friends raising children, I have friends teaching in Singapore, I have friends going to school in Australia, I have friends working for humanitarian organizations. Conclusion: I have friends who inspire and challenge me in the best and every way possible.

So. Seeds have been planted and it's only a matter of time before I see which way they will grow.
I have a rough 5 year, Post-Korea, outline which includes grad-school and other "responsible" things. But. I can't help but turn a starry eye towards the horizon of a possible extension to my expat career.

I've been working on what I've been calling my "Post-Korea Escape" for a while now, and it seems like it's going to be put into effect this August. (With the possibility of a 6 month extension. ~Not sure! Don't quote me on it. Just kicking the idea around!) Here's a rough outline:

September: Depart Korea for Chiang Mai, Thailand
-Elephant Nature Park: Elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in Northern Thailand (Spend my 26th birthday bathing elephants? Yeah, I think I can handle that.)
End of September-End of October: Cambodia
-Elephant Valley Project: Mondulkiri Province
-Volunteer teaching in Phnom Penh
November:
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and travel about up to Hanoi
-Touch base in The States
2015: Work in Australia, possibly teach English in Asia again, apply for grad school and attend. Fin.

A few helpful, inspiring, and dreamy resources:
-Bucket List: A fun way to log past and future accomplishments. Dream big, compare lists, and see what other people are chasing after in life.: www.bucketlist.org
-Indie Travel: Planning a big trip? Use this website to map out, plan, and snag the lowest airfares. I have a lot of fun messing around with this. I have 5 possible trips already mapped out!: https://indie.bootsnall.com/
-Volunteer HQ: Help others while helping yourself.: http://www.volunteerhq.org/


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Unknown.

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