Spring has come, and with it comes a wash of color over a drab world. The early white blooms of maehwa trees, the golden petals of the sansuyu, and the pinkish white of cherry blossoms. The dry cold of winter disappears and within a matter of weeks, it’s comfortable to wear a T-shirt outside. Korea is a place best experienced in the shoulder seasons, and spring is perhaps the most beautiful of the two.
Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their color and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
The spring comes again.” – Ikkyu
This spring is my third in the Land of Morning Calm. Though I’ve spent years here, there’s still so much I’ve yet to see. Being reliant on public transport makes that an issue, but each time I’ve found a way around that obstacle: I buy myself some wheels. My first year, those came in the form of a scooter. The next time around, it came in the form of my trusty Daelim Daystar.
This time, it comes in the form of Sleipnir — a 250cc Hyosung Mirage. Grungy, rusty, and a bit throatier in tone than my previous bikes, she’s an eyesore, but she’s my eyesore. I’m already in love.
I got her a few weeks back, and it’s like I’ve rediscovered a part of me that was missing. No longer do I have to sway and stagger on a city bus, or clutch the ‘oh-$*&^!’ bar of a taxi. I can drive the narrow, winding roads of the Korean countryside and find my way to some of the many beaches dotting the eastern coast of my adopted homeland.
That was my plan this weekend when I set out for Guryongpo Beach. The weather was gorgeous, and the feel of the sea air blasting through the gap in my visor and the engine rumbling beneath me was intoxicating. Each time I move back overseas, there is an adjustment period. A time of stagnation during which I struggle to get back to the mindset I love to dwell in — living for the moment, living for the mere experience of doing so.
And here on the beach, with the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves a constant in the background, I’m finding that again. Sleipnir and I, we have many adventures ahead of us. And — to paraphrase a great man — though our roads are long and winding, and fraught with danger, they will surely lead to the most wondrous and savage views.
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