Traveling TV programs such as “Grandfathers Over Flowers” and “Sisters Over Flowers” caught on lately. It aroused a yearning for backpacking. Traveling is loved by everyone. If you travel exotic places and capture them in camera and write down what you feel about them, how romantic it would be? Here is a person whose job is to go on a trip and write a book. She is a travel writer Haram Lee.
A writer, Haram Lee traveled 20countries including Europe, Mongol, Nepal, Thailand, Turkey and Egypt for 3 years. When she was 28 years old, she published Her travel bag and since then she became a regular writer. She was also a restless youth, but never stopped writing and traveling. Now, let’s hear her story.
Graduated Myongji University Creative Writing Major, 2005
Joi’ as a script editor at radio department of KBS
Resigned script editor at radio department, KBS.
Movie program MC and announcer in YTN.
Worked as a reporter for a few months in the KukminIlbo internet news team
1. Why did you decide to quit your job and begin travelling when you were prospering as a career woman?
When I was a senior, I started to write for radio. I became an assistant writer for a program called “ Kim Gu Ra’s GayoGwangjang” which was going on air at the peak time. But as I worked, I started to think that it was not worth spending my whole youth working. Many experiences like travelling and dating are essential for a writer to create a good piece of work, but I could not gain those experiences because I started writing from an early age. Some of audience was older than I, and I believed that I was too young to write for them. After working as a writer for a year, I switched to working at a broadcasting station, and later at a company, and also became a reporter. However, I could not find the job that ignited my passion. For 4~5 years, until my late 20s, I worked seven days a week. And one day, I had regrets that I worked too hard without taking a trip. In spite of my economic success, my quality of life was getting poor. Finally, I left the company I was working for and started travelling with all the money I had saved for the past three years.
2. You changed your name and decided to become a travel writer while having a trip to Mongolia. What happened there?
I went to Mongolia in my late twenties after I had traveled many other places. I heard a saying that “in Mongolia, you can see stars at the tip of your toes.” I wanted to see beautiful landscapes across the vast horizon so I decided to visit there. Mongolia had its own unique landscapes and I wanted to share them with other people. I believed that writing was the best way I could share my experiences with other people, which led me to make a decision to be a writer in Mongolia. I wanted to make a Mongolian name as my pseudonym and while discussing some options with other people, “sky and wind” popped up. Combining these two words, I became Haram Lee.
3. Out of all the things you have gained from traveling, what is the most precious? Any big changes?
My personality has changed most. I was very introverted but changed to be outgoing, and now I am not afraid to contact with foreigners. Through travelling, I gained more self-confidence, and realized that foreign people I meet can be my friends. Furthermore, in Nepal, my way of thinking changed as well. Before I visited the country at the age of 28, I always thought that Nepal was a poor third world country. However, while I was making friends there and experiencing all the generosity they offered me during my trip, my perspective changed. Instead of feeling pity on them, I realized that they were enjoying their lives in their own way. Namely, the trip widened my narrow mind.
4. When do you feel most proud as a travel writer?
I feel pleased whenever I offer my friends my books that I wrote during travel. Many people feel proud of me when I tell them what I do. Recently, my book was translated into Chinese, and I don’t know how to express my gratitude when I imagine my Chinese friends reading my books.
5. Do you have special places you would like to visit again?
I’d love to go to Mongolia again. I owe what I am today to this place and it was in Mongolia that I decided to write a book. If I visit there now, I wonder what I would see. It would be obviously different to feel and experience in my 20s and 30s so I want to make sure how different it is. I still remember the beautiful sky filled with twinkling stars. As Mongolia is a country of vast fields, at night, sky is bright and close to me. I also would like to visit countries in South America like Cuba, Chile, and Argentina.
6. You did challenge a lot when you are still young. What is your new goal to achieve in the future?
So far I have shown my traveling through writing. From now on I want to do it through more media such as exhibition, radio, broadcasting, etc. I wish my story could reach many people through diverse media.
7. Do you have any comments to college students who are worrying about going on a trip?
It’s true that for college students, traveling is difficult since they have to gather money, need to study and prepare for many other things. But you don’t need to go far for travelling. You don’t have to go to Europe or India like me. What traveling means depends on how people think. Maybe going to the place which you think is not easily accessible could be a trip. First, I want students to have motivations for their trip since it makes it easier to leave. For example, don’t miss the chance to take a trip when you ruin your exams or you break up with your lover. What I really want to tell students is that there are so many things they can experience only in their 20s. Today is the most valuable moment and it’s crucial to know what you really want. Concentrating on “success” and not experiencing some particular things that can be done only at the age of twenties, it’s your loss. I hope students to know that 4 years of college life is the most significant time of your life.
So far, we’ve heard the story of Haram Lee. She has made great career experiences as a young career woman. But, with too much hard works she got more and more exhausted. To others, she was a successful woman but she felt her life quality kept on worsening. Thus, she gave up the company and started to travel around, and it became her job to write down about her trips. The most memorable remarks is “there are a lot of things which you experience only in your twenties.” It is not bad to concentrate on studying or specs, but I need to think over what I really want to do now. I hope Gachon students to be serious about what you like and have plenty of memories and experiences that can be achieved only at their age.
< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >