Tag Archives: Open minded

Travel Blog #7 – Dogapsa Temple.


A historic, and cultural haven, a temple stay at Dogapsa Temple (도갑사) in Yeongam (about a 50 minute bus ride from Gwangju, plus another 10-15 minute ride in a taxi) was both what I needed, and didn’t know I wanted.


I am not a religious person by any means, but I do have a deep fascination with Buddhism, with it being one of the oldest religions (or perhaps the oldest), and the concepts it embodies. This stay taught me a lot about the praying ritual, the history of Buddha, and the daily practices of a buddhist monk.

Before going (and after) to the temple, there was this wonderful coffee shop my friend brought me to. I love shops that are well designed, and this place definitely wins all my votes.

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Most people know how rare it is to find decent coffee in Korea!

There is something you should know about this temple. At this temple specifically (might be the only one!), is a great brother/sister combo. The sister is one of the monks that is in charge of the temple stay, while the brother is the temple stay manager. Being incredibly nice and such wonderful people would have been enough, but their grasp on the English language really puts this stay over the top. They were one of the many highlights of this trip. (there weren’t any bad memories at all haha!)

The day consisted of praying, meditation, and a tour of the surrounding area, which obviously includes the temple itself. The meals were all vegetarian (Korean vegetarian is quite good!), and tea service with dried radish tea was an absolute delight.

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There is something magical about meditating in a place, where no cars are driving past, and that you can hear the river rushing, the wind blowing, the birds singing, and the leafs shuffling. I am certainly not someone who meditates daily (or at all), but this experience just might change me. I don’t think I have ever been this relaxed. No timetables, no rushing, no deadlines.


Remember to take off your shoes outside whenever you go into any room/temple!

Anyways, here are the rest of the pictures. I really recommend everyone to go. It is worth the trip to Yeongam.

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The nights are incredible. It is pitch black, and well, who doesn’t like a blanket of stars?

IMG_6721 IMG_6680 IMG_6679 IMG_6675 IMG_6667 IMG_6663 IMG_6659 Families praying for their families and friends.

Oh, did I not mention? There was also a group of elementary school kid that stayed with us. I made a few new friends (친구), who might be the most adorable friends I have.

IMG_6783IMG_6784At the end of this temple stay, you are given a postcard, to write to anyone you want (including yourself), and they will send it 1 months-1 year later.

And with everything I did this weekend, and all the memories I received, the one thing that stood out to me, was how much I smiled, and laughed in those 24 hours.


Protecting the life in the earth, air, wind, and hell.

Until next time,

Richard T.

Trainee Polymath


Travel Blog #6 – Muju-gun


추석 (Chuseok) is a major harvest festival that celebrates good harvest, and is usually celebrated by visiting their hometowns, family gatherings, and a traditional korean feast. I used this trip for a totally different reason, and went on a trip to Muju with a group of friends.

a 4 hour journey from my apartment in Naju, all the pictures, and information I’ve gathered informed me that this trip would be extremely peaceful and involve a lot of adventure. it definitely proved truthful, and made some new friends out of it too!

Muju is a famous city to go skiing in, and as such, there were a ton of ski shops in the area. However, it was the wrong season so everything was closed, and was very quiet around the area…which is exactly what I like.  We did a lot of barbecues (almost burned my eyebrows off, thanks Rachel), river rafting (of sorts), hiking, and took the gondola up to one of the mountains. Great view, great friends, and a great weekend overall. This trip yields no complaints from me!

As usual, I am not very good with words, so I will just show pictures instead. Also I realize this post has been quite overdue, but what can I say? I’m lazy and slow. Deal with it :).

IMG_6430This is the pension we stayed at. Very clean, accessible and well located. The cherry on top is the nice family that owns it. The daughter , with her superb English helped us arrange our river rafting, and many other things.

IMG_6467IMG_6465Good company makes for a good time.


 Just some the sights you’d find in Muju-gun. Roadside vegetable gardens, weird stick men, and ALL the nature.

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If hiking is your thing, this is the place to be. Gorgeous views, clear, clean rivers to play in, and lots of sitting areas fit for large groups randomly placed throughout.



 While you are here, might as well head to the Muju Resort and take the gondola up to the top of the world (not really). There you will find a wonderful view, with fresh air and more tourists you are willing to interact with. Tip: Bring a frisbee.


 Oh, and perhaps enjoy the life around you. You only get one.

Until next time,

Richard T.

Trainee Polymath

Just My Thoughts #3: Lazy


It is so easy to get into a rut. The path becomes a cycle, and my subconscious puts up bars that make it hard to escape. The only way out is to parkour out hell’s circle, and into an emptiness, where new things are learnt, things are done, and experiences to be had all fill up that space… before I move onto the next piece of dry land.

Just as any problem, first part is to Realize Your Condition. I see my problem with open eyes, which takes us to step two: Finding Motivation.

Most people know they are just going through the motions, but many are content with how things are. For people like me, i need to explore to live. My motivation is knowing about all the things i have yet to learn, and the thought of discovering things I don’t know I don’t know. Once you find your motivation, comes the most difficult part: Getting Off Your Ass and Do It.

For me? Stop lying in bed and start working out again. Stop wasting my time with tv series and start learning Korean seriously. Stop spending my weekends doing absolutely nothing and go hiking and exploring. My trip to Japan has now come to an end (travel blog will be up soon). The moment it ends, everything I’ve said will come into effect, and I hope all of you will keep me accountable for the promises I am making to myself.

Until next time,

Richard T.

Trainee Polymath

Just My Thoughts #2: Age

“How old are you?”

“I only date people in their 30’s.”

“you are in your 20’s. What would you possibly have to contribute?”

Age seems to run deep with people. It affects many of our decisions, and rightly so. However, it seems to be used in the wrong context every time, and boy, it irks me so.

Case 1: People often compare maturity with age. It seems that the general public think the two have a very strong correlation. Age is simply a measure of time, and the measurement of time is simply a man made invention. Maturity, on the other hand, is the knowledge of how to function has part of a society, and your contributions to such a society. This is not dictated by time, but rather the level of comprehension of each individual. Of course, it does take time to build such cognition skills, but the time varies so widely between every individual. Just as many mature adults I’ve seen, so have I witnessed in a child, and vice versa.

Case 2: Cheese and wine is better with age. I agree. Time to move on.

Case 3: For the western society, it seems dating someone within your age is very important. To date someone outside of your age bracket often earns the title of “pedophile” or “cougar”. We somehow made ourselves believe that love, and similar emotions are only appropriate if they are between people of a similar age group. With all evidence pointing otherwise, people still seem to think that age is the only determinant of a person’s emotional capacity. On the other side of the coin, eastern society tends to have a much larger age range suitable for dating. It seems that when you hit the special age of 30, your life being magically stable, your ability to be interesting increases, and you become better looking with absolutely no effort. Another thing.  Why do people go around shaming those who date people outside of what you consider an acceptable age group? why can’t people forget the gap in years, and focus on whether you enjoy that person’s company instead?

All I am trying to say, is that before you look at someone with judgemental eyes and ears, give them a piece of your time and open mind. You never know, they just might be brilliant, or someone with useful advice, or even perhaps the person you would want to spend a lifetime with. Age is simply a man-made invention. It should dictate a person’s capacity and potential as much as a vacuum, or toilet paper would.



Until next time,

Richard T.

Trainee Polymath