After a disappointing, yet fulfilling meal of ramen and apples, I settled into the bed-less rented room to indulge in my greatest vices – a snacking and YouTube binge.
Fuck it! It was vacation.
As much as I want to chastise myself for indolence and aim for productivity (I packed countless reading material in the form of novels, countless journal articles, and a Kindle filled to the brim), sometimes I just need some mindless edutainment.
After drifting off in the middle of what seemed like my 100th video – a compilation of individuals asserting sovereign citizenship in courtrooms, I awoke at 6:30, just in time for a therapy appointment.
I may have been on vacation, but mental health never takes a day off.
After downing some more coffee, “relieving myself”, and requesting a plunger to relief the damages caused by my relief, I was off for another hike – seeking the Nongsan Lighthouse and to see if anything at all existed in Dong-do – Geomundo‘s eastern-most island.
Walking along public roads and hiking paths alike provide bountiful seaside views. Though I had finally surrendered my need to immerse myself in the silence accompanied by the lapping waves and chirping birds. Court Junkie was just too interesting to pass up!
I used to always scold my mother in my head for wasting so much time watching crime dramas late into the night. I thought there were so many other productive uses of time than catching up on the happenings of Criminal Minds, all three NCIS‘s, and however many CSI‘s there are nowadays.
Staring out towards the watery abyss on an isolated island feels about as peaceful as being dead – as if I have any experience. Still though.
After about 8 kilometers of walking, I reached the edge of Dong-do, confirming my suspicions that the island is in fact barely inhabited and lacking a proper hiking trail. I sat upon a bench to interpret the bus schedule.
The next bus was due back in 3 hours. Oh the joys of a limited island public transit system.
Slogging one foot in front of another while listening to more hours of riveting recording in-court testimony, I made it back to the closest approximation of civilization – 24,000 steps richer.
Along the road, I found this diligent worker standing stock-still as he directed traffic away from an active construction site.
Only to realize he is an unwilling participant hooked up to a car battery. Anyone who says slavery is a relic of the past better do their research.
I also passed this bar whose namesake literally translates to “Free Time.” I suppose there are few other ways to pass the time in a place like this.
The following day, after a much shorter 90-minute ferry ride, I disembarked to what felt like a wild throng of Koreans in Yeosu. The crowded feeling was, of course, completely contrived. It gave me a sense of what my island-dwelling friends once felt when they ferried into Mokpo and glanced around and countless restaurants, lights, restaurants, hotels, and people. It was overwhelming for a brief minute.
I love my peace and solitude, and for two nights, an island getaway is a perfect prescription for overwhelm.
Would I ever live there? I’m not sure. On a one-year contract, I’m sure I would at least survive. But in spite of my love of nature, I realize the conveniences I take for granted in my city-based workplaces.
Regardless, I will always appreciate Geomundo and the many other island abodes – my own Walden Pond to escape the soft, over-comfortable, over-stimulated city life that I often take for granted here in Korea.