The Heart Of A Nomad

I lace up my shoes and I step outside into the (unseasonably) warm late October air. The air still feels a bit humid and the leaves are definitely changing colors into various shades of gold, red, and orange. I begin my run just as the sun is setting behind the mountains that line the ocean near our apartment. I run straight for the ocean as I always do. Seeing the ocean brings me an immediate sense of calm. I’ve never lived this close to the ocean AND the mountains & I truly mean it when I say the sight of them both never tires.

I pass the few local fishermen coming in from a day at the sea. Docking their boat at the makeshift harbor along the sea-walk. I pass the old ladies out on their evening walk, and I glance at the little shanty floating on the water. It’s the same shanty that not long ago two very old and very tiny Koreans sat cross legged as they shelled the clams they had caught out at sea. As I passed them on a run a few weeks ago they both looked up at me and gave me the biggest wide toothed smiled I had ever seen in my life. I waved at them and tears immediately filled my eyes. It was that day that it truly hit me-Korea has become more than just a temporary home for us. It’s the place we have come to fall in love with over and over again. Tonight though, as I pass the shanty on the water floating alone, I see a little old man out on the rocks sitting on his chair fishing. The waves slowly crash ashore as he sits and he waits. I stop running and I step back off the path to watch him. It strikes me that even if I wanted to I probably could only communicate a few words in broken Korean to him- yet I feel so connected. Fishing reminds me of our yearly lake visits as a kid, fishing reminds me of Tom’s dad and his grandfather, fishing reminds me in so many ways of my own dad and my home in Minnesota. I let my mind wander before I snap out of it and jog home. I think back over the week at work hugging a little girl who silently sobbed and spoke in Korean to me when I asked what was wrong. I couldn’t understand a word, but as I sat hugging her I felt SO connected. Connected, without words. If Korea feels so much like home why would we ever leave? Will we ever truly settle? Where will we live next? Will we live abroad when we have kids? Where will they call “home?”

These are all questions that circulate as I make my way home from my jog. I really don’t know the answers. What I do know is that the world is so big. There is so much to see and that both of our hearts are truly those of a nomad. Without doubt there have been struggles during our journey of living abroad, but it’s been during these times that we have not only grown immensely individually, but also in our relationship as a married couple. The heart of a nomad. Planning trips, dreaming of destinations, and imagining endless possibilities. While we have loved Korea and everything that it’s brought us the past 19 months we know that Korea isn’t our forever home. We’ve just about hiked this entire country, we’ve driven around the beautiful countryside, visited countless stunning temples, and ventured out to many of Korea’s islands and beaches. No mater how long we stay there would have always been more to see, more to climb, and more ways to fall in love with Korea. So as the time draws near where our renewal contracts arrive in just two short months we both know that the heart of a nomad can’t be contained and that more adventuring & traveling await us.




  1. We definitely think about those same questions!! Well said.