With about 70% of the Korean peninsula covered with mountains, the hiking culture dominates the the Land of Kimchi. In my spare time from teaching English, I went for a short hike up Mt. Dobongsan near my home a few weeks ago. I have a ways to go if I want to start calling myself a "hiker", but here are my thoughts thus far...
Hiking in Korea is reminiscent of attending an epic college party.
It is imperative that you...
- pre-game. (Who wants some morning makgeolli?)
- dress to impress. (Leave your sweats at home and make sure your gear is from this season.)
- show up at the right time with drinks to share. (Koreans hike early in the morning and are generous with their drinks.)
- move at the right pace (You don't want to rush ahead and fall and be 'that guy' that your friends have to take care of, but you also don't want to fall behind and miss the fun.)
- conserve enough energy so that you can make an appearance at the after party. (Fact: Korean bbq tastes 100x better after a hike.)
- at least attempt to conceal your grin on your way home on the subway while jealous onlookers admire your post-outing glow. ("Yeah, I just hiked for 5 amazing hours and it's only 12pm. What have you done today?").
Devan Meserve, a New Hampshire native and St. Lawrence University alum, decided that after two successful post college years living and working in Boston she was primed for exploration beyond the East Coast. With encouragement from friends and family and Aclipse’s expert advice she landed an instructor position with Chungdahm April English. Devan is loving life in Uijeongbu: she is continuously impressed and entertained by her young students and spends her free time following Anthony Bourdain’s advice, “I’m a big believer in improvising and getting lost.”
Check out her blog!