Recently I came across on old journal of mine that I had started in January of 2002 when I left my life in Toronto to move to South Korea on a 6 month teaching contract. In the end I would not return to that life or Canada for nearly 4 years after having discovered that there was a big beautiful world out there and many different kinds of ways to experience life on a day to day level. That adventure, that journey both outwards and inwards would change my outlook forever and when I landed back in Toronto late summer of 2005 it was a whole new world. A whole new me.
On the inside of the front cover of this weathered book there are postcards glued in place from my travels and a tiny bit of paper that I had unfolded from a fortune cookie just before I left Canada that says "You will step on the soil of many countries"
May I forever be that fortunate.
In September of 2003 I was 28 years old, living in a tiny studio apartment in Daegu, South Korea where I had a good life. I had an amazing group of friends from all over the world and a job that I loved teaching English to Korean children. We ate good food, explored every chance we got and drank more soju then anyone should ever be allowed to consume. At this time we had tiny flip phones and the internet existed only in Internet Cafes- or PC Bangs (bang being the word for room) there was no Facebook or Instagram and Social Media was certainly not a thing. I typed long wordy emails home with news of my life and travels. All of my photographs from my time there are still in albums with a bankers box of negatives hiding somewhere in the back of my closet.
My handwritten journal is a treasure to me now and holds the tales of nights out and boys I crushed on and adventures to Thailand and Japan and my thoughts as to what I wanted from this life and when I might consider going home...if ever.
The following words are from September of 2003 and strike me now as pretty unbelievable as they saw me looking forward to the year 2023 and what I had hoped to achieve by then or how I hoped to be living. What is so incredible to me now is that 2023 is the very year that completes a 5 year plan that Matt and I created together- and so it seems there are no coincidences and I am reminded that if we stay our course and remain true to our deep selves life unfolds as it should. I have never had the easiest of life experiences and have absolutely lost my way both from things that have happened to or around me and also choices I have made that have led me astray but finding these words at this time have regained my sense of 'me' my inner guide and my younger self feels confident that all is well.
September 18, 2003
*Freewrite. No edits* Based on a journal entry contest at school. Topic: In 20 years I will be...
In 20 years I will be 48. At the age of 28 it is difficult to know exactly where I will be and what I will be doing. I don't know how the world will be in 20 years. The year 2023 could bring with it war and destruction from a complete societal breakdown. Or our lack of concern and lazy habits could cause our Earth to explode- or at least put us in ecological poverty.
I'd rather hope for a spiritual planet. An enlightened mass- a time of love and good energy. Good karma shared by all. In this world at that time- I would only hope to be happy and that I am surrounded by the ones I love. My husband my children my siblings-mother.
I hope to be engrossed in a successful career- acting, writing, working as a photographer. My passions and dreams realized and making their mark. I hope to have a balance of work and play. I wish to be near the ocean and the mountains- somewhere temperate all year. I hope that in 20 years I have a collection of passports full of stamps and photo albums full of memories. I want to have a space I can call my own - a sunny warm moody room where I can think and read and write - create and meditate. I hope that when I am on the edge of 50 that I am slender and strong and that the abuse I am putting on my body now doesn't manifest itself. I pray that I am raising my children in a healthy and fun environment that I remember that they are people too with needs and thoughts ideas and requirements that are NOT the same as mine. I hope I can operate the technology of the day so they don't laugh at me and say "oh- mum!"
I want my husband and I to still be deeply in love and full of respect, for respect is the essence of love.
I cannot say where I will be but happiness is key. I can only dream that the next 20 years of knowledge that I gain will bring me to a level of intelligence to be self sustainable. That I will not maintain a selfish lifestyle that I will consider the earth and my neighbours near and far. That I will not rely on society to tell me how to live how to act...that I will not turn my eyes to billboards to show me how to dress myself. That I will not line the pockets of the rich and powerful with my need to follow and be accepted. I hope that I can create a platform for my voice through my career one that is sensible and completely altruistic. A respect that will open the eyes and minds of people to the absurd misdistribution of wealth on planet earth.
That was where I ended it. Just like that.
I haven't strayed too far in the end. Most of this is true by way of my choice, some of the things sadly were out of my control - there never were children on my path and sometimes that hurts but I am blessed in many other ways. My passions have never waivered but this reminds me of how important photography and writing have always been to me- and has renewed my desire to keep going with those dreams. I have 4 years now....4 years to close the circle on this and then set new sights to reach towards.
Just last night I wrote a new entry with very specific outcomes I will achieve by 2023 with all of this in mind.
Perhaps one day way off in the future I'll share it with you.