What image comes across your mind when you think of the word, 'teenager'? Maybe the words 'passion' and 'youth' come up. Orperhaps the ideaof the “generation of giving up three things: love, marriage and childbirth.” However, according to a recent KBS survey done by teenagers, employment was the number one concern. Howeverin choosing a job, the concern for self-realization as it relates to the meaning of life, was relatively low.Even respondents with a job replied that their current job wasn't the one they truly desired. Through this survey, we see that people with passion towards something,often live their lives not being able to accomplish their goals due tothe desperate situation we see in Korean society now. Most adolescents are struggling in a rat race to get a stable job thatcan only partially offera satisfying life. It is hard to find a student who has a firm vision of what he or she wants to do.In the 130th issue book review, Iwould like to introduce a book, What planet are we on? It involves the story of a female college student travelling to Africa in order to achieve what she really wants.
Her trip to Africa was financedthrough crowd funding. Crowd fundingis the funding ofartist or social activist projectsby anonymous investors through a crowd funding website.The college studentwas supported by 200 people through crowd funding and took a trip to Africa for two months wearing T-shirts printed with her investors' faces and mottos. She travelled around South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
She was faced with the reality of Africa, seeing a little girl barely able to hug a baby, or having inquisitive talks with boys walking to school for two hours instead of taking a bus.When she left Swaziland, she shed tears because of the farewells she had to face with her new friends.
"There is no place that is less age-structured. Stew, who is over 6 years old, tookvery good care of me. He was much more reliable than the protection spray in my bag. It felt like leaving home since I was very attached to it."
In South Africa, I felt family affection towards everyoneregardless of skin color. However I got my mobile phone stolen in Mozambique whichwas my next destination.
"There were people that made fun of me by yelling out 'China' or 'chingchangchong', and there was a residence owner who tried to kick me out saying there is no cheap rooms left for me, and even police officers who tried to rip me off when I tried to get some help. All of these situations made me cry."
I managed to climb5,895 meter high Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania which is not an easy task toaccomplish.
"The road was endless. I walked and climbed continuously. After a few hours, I forgot how I climbed. All I remembered was the struggle of climbing that mountain. And the most tremendous fear I felt in my entire life that maybe I will die there. Turning back at ‘Masaga’ yells, I saw the sunstarting to rise and I saw a sign showing 'UhuruPeak' which is the peak of the mountain. I then recalled ‘Masaga‘s last word. Never give up. Whatever it is, an end always exists."
The 60-day trip to Africa that she chose for herself was a lonely and exhausting experience. Nevertheless, she kept on going, hoping to find and meet different people. She got emotionally hurt from some but also got consoled by others.Her goal was to have a unique experience for a year, so she made up her mind to make it a lifetime experience.Along the way she became conscious of a life in helping others, and not thinking only of herself.
Aren’t there people who want to live their own life for a year, at least once in their lifetime? It sounds sweet, but for this generation of teenagers who are sensitive to this rat race life full of endless qualifications and documents; theymay feel burdened.But people have to choose their own life.We are young,so even if we fail we can overcome it.Through the story of this fearless young female college student, I hope readers can take a step forward and live with less fear of failing, and struggle not just for others' expectations, but for themself.
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