When it comes to traveling and adventure, I tend to remember everything. I remember the smells, tastes, feelings, details about sites, human expressions, even a great deal of specific thoughts. The fact that I remember so much when traveling is startling to me. On many a sleepy occasion, I have laid my head down to revisit specific days from my past travels as if I had just left. I can’t help but think so myself, “Fuck, I wish I had this memory when I was in school”. The only other time I seem to remember so much, and with such clarity, is when I am in love. Love seems to make time stand still so you can play, dance and explore the moment. You can peak around every corner and open ever drawn, so to explore the wonderful “love” world. When in love your senses are heightened and your brain is in superman mode. Everything is remembered and nothing is forgotten. This unique feeling is identical to the feeling I get when I am traveling. The rush of adrenaline when you are stepping off a plane in a new land is so very similar to the rush you feel when you have your arms around your love. This past year in South Korea has been etched into my mind. Every meal has its place in my mental Hall of Fame. Every idiosyncrasy of every city has been craved into my memory. Every person I have had the pleasure of meeting has made its way to my heart, minus though three-sheets to-the-wind nights. I truly feel as if South Korea is a part of my essence.
I have remembered every step of my way from the beginning to the end. It always seems that new experiences hasten time. Your brain speeds up to comprehend and time seems to elude. The pleasures of these new adventures are extremely high. On the other hand, the downfalls can be extremely low. Some deep realities unveil themselves when you are on the go. When you see a husband and wife taking chair of their child of the subway or an old man on the side of the highway cooking street food, you see your life passing by very quickly. They are in their known-world caring diligently and working hard. You see them in the moment, slowing time down while you are full speed ahead. While traveling or living abroad the mind seems to never stop. You must constantly be on your toes paying attention to all of the details or you may lose your way.
A few days over one year ago I arrived in this odd little land. Since I arrived I knew my stay was temporary. I felt it in my heart and knew it in my head. This constant throbbing feeling of pending doom has loomed over me during the good times and bad. This feeling at times has brought me to tears with both joy and sadness. This guarantee has made my 31,536,000 plus seconds of this past year beyond cherish-able. I felt as if my life would never be more beautiful with ever passing moment. And even though I have been in some extremely difficult situations that firmly placed me in the present moment, the idea that my stay here is temporary never once eluded me. The fact that I was leaving influenced even my unpleasant moments; They were unpleasant and hard but still worth living to the fullest. So now I know exactly what a year feels like. I started thinking about my feelings about an exact year and I immediately got anxiety and fear. I realized “holy shit, if I multiply this year-long feeling times 60 I am dead and my game is over”. My morbid sense of the world always gets the best of me, for the better or for the worse. This pseudo-heightened sense of self has put me mentally in tough situations but also given me a gift. The gift of constant appreciation. The gift of insane motivation. The gift of true perspective. Without a doubt, my one year abroad has allowed me to understand “here today, gone tomorrow”. I now appreciate every moment that I have now and will never have again.