[VIEWPOINT]Life’s journey is made of dreamsWhenever I have a chance to interview or talk with students, I ask them, “What is your dream?” Most cannot answer immediately because they seldom think about such a question. We live in a culture where reflecting on our dreams is not allowed.
After long hesitation, the students usually list one or two types of jobs for an answer. But a respectable job, money, fame or power can only be a means to getting what we want and cannot be a goal. We will continue living, simply pursuing money and success in the world.
But in doing so, we just forget why we wanted to have success in the first place.
Perhaps we live in a world where we can make money and be successful only if we can forget about dreams or abandon hope.
I dream of a peaceful and free life. As an essayist wrote, I’d like to read books all day long and then stroll in the forest, fields, hills or along a long, pebbled beach. I’d like to sit in a cafe with good music while leisurely sipping a cup of tea and peacefully watching passers-by.
I’d like to live with a child-like heart that can feel the myriad wonders of the beauty that is hidden in our everyday life. With a marveling eye, I want to gaze at the miracle as a bright day shifts toward a dark night, something that is repeated every day. This is the moment of tremendous change when the whole world is filled with bluish light.
When the moon shines at night, I’d like to stare at the night sky with a clear and bright eye while endlessly listening to Johann Sebastian Bach or Pink Floyd.
On a snowy night, I want to sip red wine with good friends until dawn when the world awakens again with a bluish light. At that moment, if there is Miles Davis’s music playing, stirring up the longing of my heart with each breath, I surely would be happy.
Money, fame or power is not needed for such freedom and peace. Instead, what is necessary is a continuous passion to reflect on ourselves quietly, and a fundamental solitude to look at the world with a warm heart. We should turn our external interests into internal reflection.
The best way to deal with the loneliness of an empty heart is to go on a trip alone to an unfamiliar place. We should break from the routines of daily life. To do so, we should avoid tourist spots. We should not have a specific itinerary. The trip should be simple; we just get in a car, go on endlessly, and get off wherever we want and stay at whatever place we want. Traveling with a specific schedule, such as on a business trip, does not provide room for freedom.
It may be good to wander around unknown small cities in foreign countries, but it would be better to climb the ranges of Mount Jiri to view the endless peaks of smaller mountains. When the crickets begin to sing at dusk, it would be wonderful to ramble along the Seomjin River.
If you cannot get away from a metropolitan area, how about walking along a path on Mount Namsan or along the stone wall surrounding Deoksu palace?
And try whispering to yourself, “Ah, I am a traveler, new to this place.” Watching everyday life from the perspective of a nomad is the best way to travel without paying the cost.
How joyful it would be if we discovered our most cherished dreams somewhere deep in our heart while searching for solitude on a trip.
* The writer is a professor of mass communications at Yonsei University.
by Kim Joo-hwan