I turned 24 in 2002 and had graduated university. That year was my second year in a company where I found my dream job after design school. Many graduates dream of becoming a designer once they graduate design school, but that was not my dream. I never liked designing clothes and always had a passion for mathematics. I always wanted to combine the art of designing and mathematics. I found the ultimate combination in this French company where I was hired as a merchandiser. I was the youngest in the company, and my job was to get material from different companies and combine them into the shape of a product which also was quite profitable.
People in Korea thought that I had the perfect life and lifestyle. However, I knew that something was missing from my life. I always had a deep desire to see the world and travel abroad. At this point in time, I was in a relationship with a guy who was from a small town in Canada. He was teaching English at a local Korean school. The relationship didn’t work out, and later, we broke up. However, he inspired me to move and see the world which started me thinking on these lines.
I was taken over by this thought, and my lunchtime was spent in front of my PC researching places where I could go. My inspiration, however, came from a novel about a French community named Taizé. The book was written by a famous Korean writer Gong Ji-Young(공지영.) The community was based on people who were not locals and came from all around the world to settle and work there.
Therefore, I took two weeks off and decided to go to visit Taizé. I made many foreign friends there. There were many European nationals from Slovenia, Slovakia and the former Soviet Union. We stayed together in one dorm room, and they worked together as well. My new obsession was with the methods of creating such a community around me but my bank balance didn’t allow me to take any action on this dream. I thought that a routine life is not what I was in the world for.
Hence, I started to jot down points about me and my life and what I wanted to pursue. This changed my vision all together, as there was no family responsibility attached to me. I didn't have a lot of debt and just a car which I could sell off. I was not a lawyer or doctor, a licensed career which I would have to surrender it in order to move away. The stable job I currently held was of no interest to me anymore. The list I made for pros and cons of leaving was heavily in favor of me leaving town. I have no recollection of how, but Mexico became the target of my travels. It may have been because I knew a friend who lived in Mexico and who told me a lot about his country. Thus, I started to plan to leave my job and move abroad -- at the time I thought it would be Mexico.
The person who influenced me the most in 2002 was my ex-boyfriend. He showed me a totally different way of living life by moving away from his home country and finding a job. This was an influential decision to leave my job and move away to see the world.