The Virtue of Wandering

In our house, the Travel Channel and Rick Steves' PBS show are some of our favorite places to veg on the TV. We especially enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. His wry, cynical, yet loving look at people in far away places through the language of food and hospitality captures our family's love and experience of travel.

My oldest son, Troop, has long had the travel bug. His latest venture has taken him to South Korea for a year to teach English. He's begun a blog called The Virtue of Wandering. I highly recommend it. Not just because I'm his father, but more so,  because he is a keen observer of his surroundings. Here are a couple of his initial reflections.

What will stay with me the most from this place, I already know, long after sights and events have faded into soft focus, are the smells.  To a Westerner, they are completely and utterly unfamiliar and overpowering.  I’m used to the smell of woods, wet grass, the earthy aroma of decomposing leaves.  Or if I’m in town, the reek of car fumes and asphalt on a hot day.  But here in Korea, just walking down the street you come across odors that can make the unprepared almost gasp for air.  What the hell is that smell?
...
I think at the root of this matter is that Korea is an ancient society and a Confucian one.  Their whole concept of self and its relationship to the whole is fundamentally different, for it is about harmony, about one’s place in the world, within the established order, and not deviating from it.  Short of being inside a Korean’s head, I really don’t think that Westerners can fully grasp the significance of this.  We in the West have a fundamentally different understanding of ideas, of objects and their relation to us and to others.  We are Greek, whether we like it or not, believers in logic, ideals, in the primacy of the way an individual conceives of and approaches Truth.  We argue and debate, trying to extract what we can define as Right and Correct from that clash.  Here in Korea, they do not think like that.  How do they think? . . . well, I have even less of a clue now.

Here are links to his first three postings.

Make sure you subscribe to Troop's site. Follow his life immersed in a world very different than ours here in Western North Carolina.


The Scene Above

I was asked about the picture in the banner above.
The shot was taken from Devil's Courthouse in the Pisgah National Forest at mile 422.4 on the Blue Ridge  Parkway.

The two peaks left and center are Sassafrass Knob (left) and Pilot Mountain (right). The saddle between them is Deep Gap where there is a trail shelter. 

This setting is on the Art Loeb Trail that extends from Cold Mountain to the Davidson River Campground.

To the left of Sassafrass Knob is Farlow Gap. A trail intersects with the Art Loeb there that descends down to the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail.  This is one of our favorite places to hike a camp.