April 11, 2015 08:08
Ahn Si-nae, a student at the University of Seoul, has become a travel writer of sorts after the travel journal she wrote on her Facebook page attracted more attention than she expected. She posted regularly while traveling for 141 days with just W3.5 million (US$1=W1,095).
Ahn was traveling alone and wrote the journal so she could share her trip with others. The number of visitors to her Facebook page grew explosively and over 26,000 people subscribed to her postings. Her story even encouraged others to embark on a journey of their own.
Ahn had long cherished a dream, that was to spend an entire year, while still young and fresh, doing whatever she wanted to do, and the only thing she wanted to do was to travel.
To realize her dream she worked odd jobs to save money, from part-time work at an Internet café and coffee shop to babysitting on weekends. "It was physically hard, but I was happy because I was in the process of making my dream come true," she said.
Ahn made her own travel guide by searching the Internet. She focused more on experiencing local life rather than sightseeing during her journey, so she mostly visited small towns rather than famous tourist attractions and met many local people there.
Her journey took her to Malaysia, India, Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Egypt and Thailand. She didn't set a time limit on how long she would stay in each country, and just stayed anywhere she liked and as long as she wanted. During her trip, she was sexually harassed and pick pocketed. However, warm-hearted smiles of locals, travelers she met on the road, and most of all, a sense of fulfillment kept her going.
Her journals will be published in May.
Ahn recently went to Africa to travel across the continent from South Africa to Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. She raised the funds for the two-month trip by crowdfunding, and plans to use the royalties from her book to donate the amount she received in the participants' names.
"I want to be a travel writer. When traveling, it seems we tend to become much more sensitive to every aspect of life. I want to express those feelings in writing," she said.
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