Her Dream Took Her To Over 60 Countries, Taking Over 7 Years. She Left Her Comfort Zone To Go After It,
The Korean Nation's First World Traveler On A Second-hand Used Bicycle Bought From Craigslist. Just My Opinion.
This post is translated to over 19 different languages.
This post is about Jin and her bicycle touring to over 60 countries, without spending a fortune. It has taken her over 7 years to accomplish this. She left without any fanfare, no press releases. Just a normal person deciding she wanted to travel the world on her bicycle. It was probably a nice sunny day cycling out of San Francisco.
Her actual name is Hyojin Jeong, and she is a normal girl from South Korea. Who had a not so normal dream. She didn't want to just finish college and work at a job. She wanted to do something different. She wanted to travel around the world.
This is what lots of other young girls in Korea want to do, travel and experience different cultures. Many of them work odd jobs, saving their money into bank accounts. All of it towards that exciting day. The start of their trip. The pilgrimage to see the world, ready to be awed and inspired. Some go for a month, the more adventurous for several months. The really nomadic for a year or two.
However, Jin's idea of traveling and seeing different cultures was a bit different. Jin wanted to see the world cycling. Not a usual way, buying an airflight and staying at a hotel. The trip was not a one city or a one country trip. It was to cycle around the world and visit all of the continents and as many cities she could. She knew it would take time to do it. I don't know if she knew it would be over 7 years later.
She left her parents, family and friends in South Korea and visited Canada as a Tourist. She got a work visa and worked there to earn money for the plan she had in mind. I don't know if her parents, family and friends knew what she would eventually be doing.
This was her first time away from home. During her time living in Canada, she began to see the reality of her dream coming to fruition. Inspired, she formulated a plan to achieve her goal of cycling the world. Diligently saving her hard earned money, she finally purchased a flight to San Francisco, California.
Flying to San Francisco was the first part of her plan. There, she bought all her camping gear with the help of a kind Professor of the Italian language. Then she took a train to San Jose and purchased a secondhand used bicycle for $700. She found it from a craigslist ad. On the way back to San Francisco she told people, "I will travel the world with this bicycle". I wonder what these people were thinking?
On September 2011, with everything packed on her $700 bicycle purchased off an ad on craigslist, she pedaled out of San Francisco with her bike, all the gear and money she had saved. The money was in the bank of course.
The first three days out of San Francisco were very difficult, along the way she lost her only paper map and broke her lantern. Jin realized that she was not physically conditioned for cycling. It was during these days that she almost quit.
She came very close. She could have purchased a airflight back to South Korea, to be back with her family. Go back to school. Get a job as a teacher. That would have been another story, a normal one. But sometimes, events happen that "tip the scale". She met people who gave her encouragements and comfort she needed to keep going. She received a friendly hospitality from a Filipino family, inviting her to dinner. A couple she met gave her advice and items for her journey. Items she still has seven years later.
The 7th day was the turning point of no return. She decided to keep going, to the next city. To Los Angeles. She would decide there. After reaching Los Angeles, she felt a sense of accomplishment. That city was the fork in the road. She decided to continue forward.
Thus, her pedaling took her on many dusty paths, highways, backroads, slippery wet roads, hills, mountain roads, and snowy roads in over 60 countries. When things got cold or too hot from her cycle around the world, she parked her bike and unwound with local people and traveling kindred spirits. I think sometimes she just relaxed alone, thinking.
She wanted to travel the world, meet new people, and experience life and culture, riding on her bicycle. That she did. For over seven years. On her secondhand used bicycle purchased from an ad on craigslist. Along the way, she met kind, helpful, caring, and living people that helped her throughout her journey. She also gained valuable experience that others have asked her to share.
She has gotten to meet new people from her bicycle touring, some whom opened doors for her and opportunities that would not have been possible had she stayed in Canada or South Korea.
Jin's dream became something of a newsworthy topic. Inspired from her travel adventure vlog on Youtube, she was asked to speak about her cycle around the world at a speaking conference for three days by ZafigoX. ZafigoX is an event about being inspired by other adventurous and bold women. A young woman like Hyojin Jeong.
Her travel around the world took her to China, where she met a Youtuber who had a food channel. You will probably recognize him from the image below. He invited her to stay at his place with him and his wife because he was impressed with what she was doing.
Her story has been an inspiration for many people. Here was an ordinary normal Korean girl doing something that was dangerous, uncertain, and non-ordinary. She was noticed by an American show called "Right This Minute". They interviewed her and had many questions.
When watching her videos, please understand that English is not her first language. The Korean language, Hangul, is her native language. But that doesn't stop her. She practices speaking English on her videos. There were a few times I couldn't understand anything she was saying. But she has a pleasant voice and that helped me to understand the general meaning of what she was saying.
Her first month into a 7 year plus adventure, she learned how to create her travel blog using WordPress. This blog is created with WordPress also. She earned money creating websites for other people. She earned money from speaking engagements, and even from her Youtube travel vlog monetizations. So she could keep traveling.
But she also ran into an unanticipated event during her travels. She didn't let that stop her. She was able to leave it behind without any harm. Wiser from it, she did not let it stop her cycle around the world.
How did she keep going? How did she cope with this? She must have missed her parents, family an friends. She was pedaling different countries, alone. She was not thinking about weeks, months or years down the road, it was always the next city. Anything else, she said her cycling adventure seemed almost impossible to accomplish.
Through her story, I saw that people haven't lost their humanity. They gave hospitality to a young Korean girl cycling on an adventure to see the world. To meet people like them.
Her story is far from over. There is no videographers and photographers following her every move. She is her own videographer, photographer, and biographer. She has been traveling for 7+ years. As she said about herself, "I'm just a normal ordinary Korean girl on a bicycle trip to see the world. That's what I wanted to do and doing now."
Years from now if this website is still up and running, young girls from different cultures might come across this website and read about her story. Maybe they will become inspired to do what Hyojin Jeong did. Because she showed that an ordinary young girl can do something extraordinary. But I don't know, I can only dream. Like she did.
Youtube Video Of Her Cycle Around The World - Clickable Image Below Will Take You To The Video
Seven plus years later, she still rides on that same $700 secondhand used bicycle. Purchased off a craigslist ad. New parts were added but the same bike remains.
I believe she is on the last pedaling of her journey and will be returning back to South Korea. Bringing back tales of her travel around the world to her loving and caring family and friends. This is not the end of her story, but the start of another chapter.
She is a Soul of Korea. The Korean Nation's First Woman World Traveler On A Second-hand Used Bicycle. Just my opinion.
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This is Gyopo Oppa and I've finished this post. See you on the next one.
It is Hyojin Jeong's travel around the world and you that keeps us motivated to stay up late through the night burning candles while writing this. This was "Jin, Her Travel Around The World On A Secondhand Bicycle", by Gyopo Oppa. Sarang Haey Yo! See You Next Time! Fighting!