Maybe earning money through doing what we really want to do is our eternal goal. Here is a young travel author who is achieving this goal. Her name is Si-nae Ahn (Dept. of Environmental Sculpture, ’14). She is traveling all around the world, using the system named “crowdfunding.” In this issue, The UOS Times will address Si-nae Ahn's travels, searching her happiness.
Many people will think “travel author” as “a person who publishes the book of his or her journals.” Can you introduce specifics about your jobs? A travel author is someone who publishes books about their travels. Also, honestly, being a travel author means you can earn money through traveling. A travel author can create not only financial value but also value about his or her own identity. I do a lot of work in addition to publishing books, and all of the jobs are very fun. I contribute my journals to newspapers or magazines, and I can have a steady income from those contributions. Also, I give lectures to middle school students, high school students, university students, and entrepreneurs. I am very proud when they hear my speeches carefully and my speeches have a positive influence on them. Sometimes, I promote some landmarks or traveling goods by my photos or journals. It makes me very happy and grateful that I can earn money through traveling.
According to the introduction about your books, there is a sentence “I should do what I want to do during my youth, when I am the prettiest in my life.” Is there any reason for you to think like that?
My childhood had a lot of influences to make me think that sentence. My family was poor, so I grew up in an environment where I could not do what I wanted to do. So, I expected that I would be able to do anything I wanted when I became 20 years old. However, the reality given to me was very harsh. I realized that I cannot live as I wished, so I decided to do what I wanted to do during just one year, forgetting all of the burdens that I had. Remembering the year when I had done everything I wanted to do will make me stronger to live a tough life in the future. And that “what I want to do” was traveling all around the world.
You traveled the world through “crowdfunding.” Please give an introduction and tell us the advantages of this system.
“Crowdfunding” is a system where the public supports poor travelers or artists for achieving their dreams. While I was traveling a lot of countries with a lack of funds, I searched a system which is helpful for both travelers and tourist destinations. Then, I found “crowdfunding” and used this system for my traveling. I could raise and donate money to developing countries in Africa through this system. I was so happy that I could spend money not only for myself but also for other people. My wish, conveying messages that we can travel despite of lack of funds and we can give help to poor people in other countries, was successful, and other travelers used this system for their traveling.
Why did you decide to publish the book about your journey? What were the advantages and disadvantages of publishing the book?
I wrote journals every day while visiting a number of travel sites. I used the memo pad in my cell phone, and I could remember what I had experienced vividly through the notes when I came back to Korea. I uploaded these journals on Facebook, and many people started to notice my travel notes and photos. Luckily, I got a publication offer from a publisher who saw my journals uploaded on Facebook. The advantage of publishing books is that many people who are not interested in traveling can have access to information about traveling. Some people sent me photos of airplane tickets with a message that “I decided to travel after reading your book!” The disadvantage was that I had to do excessive work while publishing the book. However, I think that suffering made me grow and mature.
What is the special thing of your travel?
I think my travel is not special, compared to the travel of other people. Every travel is valuable and precious in itself. I think my travel is just a little bit remarkable to others, as I am young and have a small build. Also, I like to travel to developing countries where few people have been to. Perhaps many people thought “Can she go there and do something?”
Where was the most impressive travel site you visited?
The most impressive place among the travel sites was Puri, one of the cities of India. I have decided to visit Puri again in this winter. It is a very silent coast town and a remote place, far from harsh reality. There weren’t any Koreans, and I could eat meals or use a bicycle for a very cheap price. Most importantly, I could concentrate on each moment, forgetting all of the realities I faced and the burdens I had to solve. As I am getting stressful from my works, the memories from there came to my mind frequently. So, I am planning to stay there for about one month this time. I could focus on the most basic and important thing, my happiness, in Puri.
Please give some advice to the readers of The UOS Times and students of UOS.
I saw a number of writings that include the content “I am tired of studying and worrying about my future. I want to stop doing all of the things.” I think students of UOS study too hard, forgetting to look around their surroundings and finding their dreams. I want them to take some time to find what they really want to do. That is the most invaluable goal that university students can achieve. It is hard to do that as we get older. What I want to say is, “Find what you really want to do as fast as you can.” No one regretted making time for searching what they really want to do.
As Ahn said, finding what we really want to do is the most important challenge that we can do during our college lives. We need to focus on ourselves and our own happiness. Why don’t you try to find what you really want to do?