A Villain’s Reintroduction to South Korea

I’m writing this now from my garret in Busan, where after an immersion in the vicious blandness of this place I can’t help but think of those soldiers from the Second World War who returned home from battle and lived out the remainder of their days convinced that they were only truly alive while overseas. The rest was a murky passage through vague and tasteless blurs.

Everything was somehow more vibrant there and the colors were closer to the truth, while here I feel the draw of lassitude and a surrender to the calendar, as if each time I sleep I dive into those squares and numbers without ever resurfacing.

While I was in Indochina I forgot the days and lived by my body’s demands, so thoroughly exhausting myself that my legs still ache from the bikerides around Angkor Wat. From experience I realized it was possible to learn more, and absorb more, from travel, than from working as a student at a college or university, an idea (a truism!) widely related to me but one which I could never fully embrace. I now know that a heartbeat on such roads may pump the blood full of more truth than a year spent pouring over books in a library, sipping coffee, scribbling notes, and winking again and again at pretty women, as exhilarating as that may be!

Finally, I developed an important idea of exploration, which basically states that the entire world is unexplored until you see it with your own eyes, and even after you leave it, the place changes, as does your memory, so it’s as if you’ve never been there to begin with. The map is always blank, and we’re allowed to people it with as many imaginary beings as we please.

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