Sunday, January 19, 2014
This winter break I opted not to go home (to the USA) after the holidays but to stay in Seoul to get back on the road to health. It was working well while losing weight but when my weight started to fluctuate it was a bit of a downer. Did I give up seeing my family to only lose X much? I soon shook myself of that negative way of thinking, and started asking different questions:
"Well I can tell I'm not my 20 year old self anymore and this weight isn't going to come off as easy. If I'm not going to put my emphasis on how quickly I lose the weight, then what should I emphasize? How can I make getting there half the fun?"
Before the winter break began one of my goals was to walk all the way from my house to the Han River, the huge river that runs through the middle of Seoul, which is about 8 miles from my apartment, so I decided...
"Why not make more goals like these? I'm not sure how much longer I'll live in this country, and I definitely want to see as much of it as possible, so why not get healthy while exploring Seoul?"
After a bit of Googling I found out:
There are 42 mountains in Seoul! - I've only climbed one small one near my house. It doesn't matter if I make it to the top, just exploring the area would be more than enough! Koreans are REALLY into hiking like you wouldn't believe - why not get a glimpse of this part of the culture and see some beautiful scenery?!
There are miles worth of rivers and streams! - On top of that, each river/stream has walking and biking trails, free exercise equipment every so many miles, in addition to fields for just about every sport imaginable. I've walked/jogged around a fair amount of these, but there's so much more!
There are hundreds of parks in Seoul, ranging from small playgrounds to famous ones like the Olympic Park (where the 1988 Olympics was held), Children's Grand Park, and Yangje's Citizens Forest. - Each can teach me a bit about the culture, why not make an effort to walk or jog around some of them?!
There are 38 universities in Seoul! - Each campus has it's own unique feel, and is home to beautiful architecture, parks, and other places of interest. Higher education is very important in South Korea, why not walk around a few and explore this aspect of the culture?!
There are also lots of outdoor attractions, like Seoul Fortress, which stretches over 11 miles, and some of the hanok (traditional Korean house) areas. I've been around a few places like this, but again, I've only scratched the surface! Why not find and explore more?!
In addition there are 25 districts of Seoul! From my district, Nowon, to Gangnam, to Yongsan, where the big US military base is located (I've been privileged to get on base twice, God bless our soldiers!) there are a lot of areas I haven't even taken the subway through - why not make sure I walk around each of them? Each district has it's own attractions, like the French area of Seoul my husband and I walked around the other day. Why not visit more places like this?!
I'm pretty psyched now!
Then I started to think, well this isn't fair. What if someone reading this thinks, "Well that's fine for you but I'm from [insert city, state] and don't have access to so many places. I started looking more into my hometown, Jefferson City, Missouri (population 40,000) and realized that there are so many parks, natural places, streets, and areas I haven't really explored. Maybe I drove through them, but there's so much more you notice when you walk, jog or bike your way through a given area. The next time I go home I'm going to have to jog down the whole Greenway Trail, take a stroll around Binder Lake (haven't been there since I was a kid), take the new bike route across the Missouri River that connects to the KATY trail (240 mile trail that goes through a good part of Missouri), and maybe even one day bike to a different city via the trail. There are so many other cities, towns, State parks, and other areas around Mid-MO I haven't seen. Getting excited to get back home and get on it!
I'll be sporadically posting pictures of the places I go, as well as cultural commentary on my blog www.jeanneabeck.wordpress.com. Feel free to check it out!