When I came to Jeju, I was burned out.
I was in a sort of internal crisis (quarter-life crisis? I wouldn’t say so) where I was feeling a lot of uncertainty and doubts about where I currently am.
Was I really cut out for this dynamic career life in the city? Could I really keep up with the ambitious and wildly driven spirit of the people around me in this industry?
When I came to Jeju, I felt suddenly that I fit in. I have never felt so right about being in a place. The kind of life I want to have is in Jeju.
It’s the kind of life wherein one wake-up alarm is enough because getting up in the morning is rewarding. It is rewarded with a breath of fresh morning air, a verdant view outside the window, another day to experience the beauty of Jeju.
It’s the kind of life where I don’t have to force myself to smile. I am surrounded by warm people and not by scorching traffic and hotheaded capitalists.
I imagine, if I were working in a city like Jeju, I could handle any kind and any amount of stress hauled at me—because there are the trees, the hills, the mountains, the ocean, and the calming waves that would comfort me and embrace me. Nature is easily within reach—within viewing and hearing range. Within walking distance.
I remember checking Naver Map and being instructed to take at least two connecting buses from one point, Sagye Beach, to another, Sanbangsan. In spite of this, for some reason, I decided to traverse the distance on foot. And it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t bad at all.
The walk did not feel hurried, it was relaxing. There was barely any traffic. And the scenery consisted of genial roads, placid little homes and cafes, the glistening sea, and Sanbangsan awaiting in the backdrop.
If you look at it from an urbanite’s perspective, Jeju’s transportation system might seem somewhat limited, with buses your only option to commute around the island. Finding and riding the bus was intimidating at first, but it was an easy adjustment. One can easily appreciate bus rides in Jeju, something that it is quite a challenge to do in the city, where you would only most likely end up stuck in traffic and watching nothing but a stuffed road and grayness outside the window.
Besides, the island’s character is very much suited to a lifestyle of more environmentally-friendly and physically-inspiring transport means such as cycling and… walking.
And the latter I enjoyed the most.
I love Jeju because it gave me an entirely renewed sense of life, a meaningful one. Jeju has been my most effective therapy by far. It redeemed me from the dark mist that engulfed my spirit like a cancerous tar does a helpless lung. It cleared my mind of the clutter that obscured what my heart desires. It brought so much vigor into my soul that what I want has never been clearer.
What I want is Jeju.
Jeju is my long-lost soulmate.
Jeju is where my soul truly resides.