I've now lived in Asia for 5 months. It's been the best experience of my life (not the easiest), and I swear the seconds are shorter over here, because it's gone by lightning fast. This opportunity has helped me grow in so many ways, but most of all It's taught me patience. Asia moves fast, but when you don't speak the language it can sometimes feel like things are moving really, really slow.
Once my wife and I were running late to catch a train, so instead of running we decided to catch a Taxi. There is a defining moment when time stands still and you are greeted by the blankest of stares. This is called "Language Barrier" and the recipient of the conversation's face can seem like an impenetrable brick wall. Your brain runs through a list of simpler words or phrases, in which you proceed to rattle off. If you happen to be lucky and find one of the few Taxi drivers that paid attention in English class you might catch a break with "bus on tracks, train....vroom...vroom...train..." coupled with some wild body language and arm movements. However, if you find yourself in the position that we did that night, it can take enough patience to fill 12 Olympic sized swimming pools. All we could think about is why didn't our Chinese tutor tell us the word for Train.
As far as bike building goes, I've had to be very patient in this regards as well. It was really hard to close up shop back in the US and put all my tooling and fixtures into storage. I was lucky enough to be on assignment in Taiwan which has a large bicycle manufacturing community, but due to the "language barrier" it has been a little difficult to wiggle my way in to the inner circles. Also, I will mention my wife and I had quite the time tying up loose ends before moving over here, so it was very important that we focused on our relationship and settling in. It has been truly wonderful to see the world with her by my side. She has been nothing but supportive of my career, and my desire to continue to build bikes. That being said, I've been making some serious strides lately. I was able to finish my S&S coupled frame which I dropped off to my new Taiwanese painter last week, I was able to work a deal with Ice Toolz to get a whole new set of shop tools, and I have some other exciting things headed down the pipeline like V1.0 of the FARR Frame Jig.
My wife and I have also still been making sure to maximize our free time while we are overseas. You may be wondering at this point why the title has nothing to do with what I've been talking about. Well, I'm about to get to that. Seokbulsa is my favorite temple in Asia so far. Hidden in the hills of Busan, it's about a 2 hour hike to get to the gates (if you go the cool way!) A quick ride up a cable car, a 1.5 hour hike through an incredible forest, and then a final push up one of the steepest cement roads of all time and you arrive on the set of Indian Jones. It's a very spiritual place, and the views are amazing. If you ever make it to Busan, please make time to do this hike, you won't regret it. Below you can see some pictures from this adventure!