“You don’t think I am too freewheelin’ do you?” I asked my best friend Kyle Devlin one night last month as we searched for the airport limousine bus stop in Youido. “I mean, flying off to Japan or Bangkok like I’ve done for the weekend?”
It’s an innocuous question at the very least and maybe one, which begs for more than a simple answer. And even if there is no simple answer, I have often wondered what some people might think about the kind of lifestyle I do lead.
“Nah, I think a lot of people would envy you,” he said, “not being tied down or anything.”
Freewheelin.’ Yeah, I guess that pretty much sums up how I’ve always lived my life and the path I have been traveling on. I don’t know about the envy part, though. Sure, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but sometimes you find yourself doing a balancing act along that fence. While I suppose I have enjoyed a certain amount of freedom, it is not like I can come and go as I please, but I do try at times.
I had finished teaching my last class for the day at 3:00 and by 5:30 I was on the KTX to Seoul. The next morning I would be on TG 659 bound for Bangkok. Kyle and his wife had let me crash out at their place for the night so I could catch the airport limousine bus to Incheon International Airport. Better to leave from Youido in the morning then to risk taking the express bus from Daejeon and getting stuck in traffic being that it was the start of a four-day weekend for some people.
Then Kyle said something, which didn’t surprise me. “You know, if certain things hadn’t happened to you a few years ago you might not have had this chance to do these kinds of things.”
My wife passing away, writing for a newspaper in Seoul, meeting Jimmy Wong, quitting my job last year—the cosmic tumblers click and unclick and then click again. Cause and effect.
“So, if I understand your correctly, I shouldn’t get too hung up about my freewheelin’ then?”
“Dude, it’s the path you’re traveling on.”
It was a warm May night on the eve of Buddha’s Birthday in Korea. Kyle, his wife and I had had dinner earlier in the evening at Outback Steakhouse and then afterwards, Kyle and I had gone out to locate the bus stop which ended up being near the 63 Building, one of Seoul’s more noticeable landmarks. Since coming back to Korea in February I’ve been able to make it up to Seoul a few times and hang out with Kyle. We talk a lot about the good old days at FLI and how much we miss working there, especially how much we miss our former colleagues and students. Kyle hopes that I can find another teaching job in Seoul. I sure do miss hanging out with the people I used to work with before.
“It has been an interesting path, hasn’t it?”
Kyle just nodded.