Prologue

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
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37
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Saturday, April 1, 2006

Charles Xavier: "There's a strange security in misery, it's almost comfortable.
Taking the risk of moving on, THAT's terrifying. [...]"
Marvel Comics' Excalibur issue 14, House of M prelude


Somewhere in Canada...

My University days ended over a year ago and since then I've been in a rut. It seemed as though my Bachelor's degree in Film Studies wasn't good enough to get me work with any of the decent/high paying institutions I applied to ...so I settled for a job in retail... selling suits... Hell, I only scored the position because friend put in a good word with the right people.

Making sales barely paid the bills, even when the commission was good, and no matter how I budgeted I could not save a cent towards paying back my student loans or, heaven forbid, allowing me to have some real fun every now and then.

I found myself becoming more and more reclusive, distant from all but my closest of friends. Romantic prospect and potential had long since faded and, believe it or not, I had actually achieved a state of acceptance in my solitude.

I was content with what I had and, since it's good to list your blessing from time to time, here's what I had going for me:


* I lived in a city that was clean, safe, and beautiful. On top of that, it was culturally diverse with so many wonderful and different foods to enjoy.

* I had a beautiful apartment that was the envy of my friends after years of effort getting it just right with boldly-coloured walls, personal artistic works everywhere, creative use of space, many awards for various accomplishments on the wall, and some plants that I miraculously kept alive during my time there.

* I owned enough stuff that I could lock myself up indefinitely and not run out of things to do (nearly two hundred DVDs, dozens of videogames, thousands of songs to listen to, decent television set, surround sound, many books, a clown's head in my filing cabinet, etc.)

* I belonged in a fairly large social circle that I could tap into whenever the mood struck.

* I had managed to luck out in making more than a handful of close confidants that I could talk to about anything.

* I had most of my family but a short drive away and available to help out with any troubles that may arise.

* I actually HAD a job and even though it wasn't a viable career option, I had established a good rapport with most of my co-workers... many of which I call friend.

Okay, so I lied about the clown's head, but I actually had everything else and it paints a pretty picture, doesn't it? Yes, I was content with it all... but sometimes being content just isn't enough to get you through the days.

I had not yet found my happiness.

At times, my beautiful apartment felt like a beautiful prison. The years of work and the countless dollars I put into making my apartment feel like home only succeeded in making me feel like I couldn't leave it. I couldn't help but think about the line in Fight Club: "The things you own end up owning you." I felt trapped and the only way to escape was to willingly open the door and walk out, leaving my material trappings behind while listening to the voice in the back of my mind. It was this voice that once came up with the crazy idea that I should step foot on all seven continents before I die.

"Somewhere in the world, there's something more than this," the voice would explain. "There's no way I can afford to travel! I have too many debts!" I'd attempt to reason. The voice's only reply was "Find a way."

The way presented itself in enlisting the help of family and friends in realizing a recent idea of teaching English overseas. There are people all over the world who are willing to pay you decent money to teach native children how to speak English. They will pay for your flight and many will even pay for your accommodations... so long as you can find the right job posting and meet their qualifications.

My "Get Out of Jail Free Card" came from an old friend, Matt, who had recently left for South Korea on a teaching expedition of his own along with his fiancée, Julia. Our friendship dates back to High School where we played rock music in a band called "The Masters of the Universe". The friendship continued when we ended up going to the same University and joining the same Fraternity. When I had found out about his impending departure, I made it a point to be at his going away party and to jokingly tell him "I'll see you in Asia" as we traded parting words...

The joke was on me when a month later Matt contacted me from Korea telling me that the school in which he and Julia work needed another teacher and that if I wanted the job I should get a hold of his boss. Long story short, I made the bold decision to join my friends in Korea, and what proceeded were a few whirlwind weeks of preparations: quitting my job, saying "see you later" to friends, and moving out of my home in Ottawa. The process was very physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing... it was a strain on my being that I had never felt before. It had been a long time since I had felt so tired... but at the same time, it had been a long time since I had felt so alive.

People spoke differently to me when they knew I was going away... my impending exit put me back on the radar and it felt both good and sad. It was a unique sensation that I wouldn't soon forget.

My love for friends and family made it very hard to leave and put so much physical distance between us... but I knew it was what I had to do. I knew that I'd see everyone again someday and time apart tends to strengthen good friendships while weeding out those that never mattered.

In the meantime, I had some adventuring to do.


-=-=-

So on April 2nd, 2006, I would leave almost everything behind to spend a year of my life as an English teacher in South Korea.

On April 2nd, 2006, I'd break free.
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