Crossing Oceans & Deserts on the Net

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Crossing Oceans & Deserts on the Net

Choi Jong-ryul (42), an explorer famous for taking on the most daunting challenges the planet has to offer, has put all his experiences and thoughts on the internet. Choi, who in 1996 crossed the Sahara Desert's 8400km distance in 208 days, recently setup his personal homepage the 'Cyber Exploration School' at As to the reason why he went about launching the site, he responded, "For people who easily get scared or can't handle extreme situations, I would like to at least offer them the opportunity to experience my world of exploration even though it is an indirect experience. Also, I wanted to show people that exploration is no longer a search for treasure but one of one's own limits."
Choi's first notable trek was one he did through the Korean peninsula in 1985. He went on to climb Everest in 1987, and then explored the North Pole, the first Korean ever to do so in 1991. His several explorational feats have taken him to places where few have ever gone.
On his homepage, Choi notes that in the Sahara Desert, he was so lonely that "I lessened my lonliness by making friends with a scorpion." With a personability and frankness, Choi describes past situations with a candour as if he were talking to a fellow explorer over dinner. Also, the sites has shots taken during his numerous treks and exploits, highlighting points of interest, the local culture and flavor, and hints to getting the most out of maps.
Under another heading on his site, Choi lists Korean explorers starting with the Buddhist monk Hae-cho, the first Korean to cross the Himalayas and others such as Ko Sun-ji and Jang Bo-go.
For a hundred days, starting next month, Choi is planning to start an expedition following the 'Silk Road', the mythic trail used to ship silk to Europe that crosses China, ancient Persia, and Eastern Europe, using only a bicycle and a raft. During this expedition, each action and daily shots will be simultaneously posted on the Internet.

by Lee Key-one

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