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One-Liner Quotes

 

Travel Bookstore’s Pick

 

2022.08.01

 

I opened a small bookstore in Donghae, Gangwondo Province. It was not that I had a connection to it – the lecture I gave at a library, by coincidence, was the beginning of everything. The first time I met the head of the library, I enviously said, “It would be great to live near the sea,” and he answered proudly, “Of course. You must try living here, too.” So, I took a month off to live in Donghae, which was not planned, and I fell in love with the sun’s energy that shone on the ocean every day.
The 5-minute away ocean, nice people, and charmingly neat alleys seized my heart, which made me think seriously about moving to Donghae for good. So, with the idea of creating a hub in the area that introduces Donghae to travelers and the world to local residents, I opened a travel bookstore called “Zanzan Bookshop.” Naturally, I looked for books related to the region when I started choosing books to put on the shelves. I could find many books about “Donghae”, but not “Donghae city.” Indeed, the city’s history was short - it was a relatively new administrative district created in 1980 (Bukpyeong-eup in Samcheok-gun and Mukho-eup in Myeongju-gun integrated).

 

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When I was struggling to find books for my bookshop, Life in Donghae (Minumsa) by Song Ji-Hyun caught my attention. Glad to find the right book, I flipped through the pages, and soon found myself crying and laughing.
“I made up my mind to go to Donghae. It was about 3:00 in the morning when I left the emergency room, and I thought it was the moment. It was the only thing on my mind: leaving now. I hit the accelerator into the darkness without hesitation.”
In the book, the writings in the part called Changes give rise to waves in the hearts of those who wish to escape their lives. Its title is misunderstandable enough – people may think it is a travel guide for Donghae, introducing daily lives in the region. But in reality, this is an essay in which the writer, caught in a profound depression, finds balance in Donghae. In the book, the writer begins to work part-time after a long, helpless sleep. She spends time with her siblings and friends, and tries to learn Korean painting and guitar. In summer, she didn’t forget to live a “southern French-style life” where she headed out to the beach under abundant sunlight as soon as she woke up.
This book offers a sheer representation of the painful time that the youth goes through instead of providing lessons or enlightenment. However, the writer who spent a transformative time in Donghae says, “Now I know how to take warm words as fuel.”
Just like poet Baek Eun-Sun’s recommendation quote, “If you want someone close and fun to be living in Donghae, like your best friend who has his/her heart in the ocean, and if you miss such a heavenly place, you must read Life in Donghae right at this moment,” the book makes readers fall in love with Donghae, the city of youth.

 

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The second book I want to recommend is Onda’s Gangwondo (Onda Press). With the sub-title “Fully-planned Life in Gangwondo,” the book contains stories of those that have moved to Gangwondo Province. It is a dangerous book for those that impulsively hope to leave Seoul – only those that are prepared shall make good use of it as a kind guide left by the foregoers.
The book introduces stories of those that left cities to pioneer their life in Gangwondo, including Kim Eun-Sung – the head of a billboard-less guest house located deep inside the beach, Park Ji-In – the producer of surfing wetsuits, Baek Eun-Jung and Choi Yoon-Sung – a couple that run Chilsung dockyard, and Choi Yoon-Bok – the ‘book-stay (where people spend a night reading books)’ manager.
The reason I love this book is because it’s not just about romance. From how people were motivated to come to Gangwondo to how to manage life in the region, the book satisfies readers’ curiosity about life in Gangwondo. The interviewees are never hesitant to say, “Living in a remote area like this may seem leisurely, but it is only the tip of an iceberg.” Nevertheless, as you read through their stories and how they ended up living in Gangwondo, you will be able to reflect on your life.
Travelers that love walking would also find the walkways recommended in the book helpful. “The walkway I’m going to introduce to you is a route that is only shared by the neighbors. Only a few people at my guest house could find it as I would only give them rough directions – but now I got to explain them in the book!” said Kim Eun-Sung, the head of guest house Maemi Planet. This is why I take this book with me whenever I go to Yangyang, Sokcho, and Goseong, even though it is not a traveler’s guide.
By the way, the word “Onda” in the title means “wave” in Italian. This is the first book published by Onda Press, a publishing company established by Park Dae-Woo, who moved to Goseong, Gangwondo, after working at Paju Book City. Kim Joon-Yeon, the writer of the book, says in the preface, “I suggest you leave your residence and walk to a place you don’t know. Then, when you no longer fear walking on an unfamiliar path, and when that path changes dramatically at a pace you have never experienced, your eyes will be able to see the world differently.” Just like his expectations, anyone who opens up the book will find themselves in a whole new world without realizing it.

 

 


Written by Chai Ji-Hyung (Travel writer and head of travel bookstore “Zanzan Bookshop (@zanzan_bookshop)”)

 

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#Life in Donghae#Onda’s Gangwondo#Donghae#Gangwondo#Travel Bookstore
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