Have you ever had any experience writing a book or traveling alone in India for a long time? Here's a writer in our peer group who did both. Lee Chan-young, 23 years old, wrote the book ‘A Moment I’m Shaken and Broken’. It is a book that includes what he felt as he spent his days in India. Although he is the youngest of the previous interviewees that we had a conversation with for the ‘People’ section in Hongik Tidings, we interviewed him because his thoughts and experiences are more abundant than our peers.
The Hongik Tidings(HT). Please introduce the book you wrote.
Chanyoung(CY). Well ... first of all, it's an autobiographical travel essay. If you really want to classify the theme, I think it is a book that shows a lot of dark and gloomy images, unlike other travel essays that were published in the past.
HT. What was the reason for taking the trip, especially to India?
CY. The reason I went on a trip was that I wanted to grow up to be a bigger person. As many people say, it involves a lot of difficulty to grow up. Therefore, I was looking for a place, and decided that India was the right place to visit. I chose India because of my expectation that I would be different as I went through troubles in India.
HT. Was the trip a little different from sightseeing to you? What did the trip mean to you?
CY. I tend to categorize trips and sightseeing. According to a book ‘Discussion‘ written by Shin Youngbok widely known as the author of ' Thoughts from Prison’, trip is walking out from my ‘castle’ that you already know well. That means a trip is a process of recognizing strange things, leaving a place where I was used to living. In that sense, I think India was the right destination. On the other hand, in the case of sightseeing, it is similar to a trip in some aspects that you go abroad, but you only have limited experience, not necessarily life changing. For example, good food or pretty things aren't that different from something you are already accustomed to.
HT. I wonder why you have made a book out of a travel journal?
CY. There are three reasons. One of them was that publishing books is on my bucket list. I wished to publish a book under my name before I reached my thirties, but I realized that dream in my early 20s somehow.
Here is second reason. I called my grandmother before going to India, and she told me she had prayed for a month, for her grandson’s safety. Regardless of the religious thoughts, I wanted to thank you for my grandmother. So I gave the first copy to my grandmother.
And finally, thanks to Kim Yeon-ji who wrote "A Moment I’m Shaken and Broken”, which is a part of a series. I met her accidentally in India, but she had to go back to Korea after four days.
I felt a lot in common with her in those four days, while talking about the values of writing and a view of the world. And I accepted her offer to publish a photo essay with me.
HT. What is the message you want to deliver with the book title?
CY. I think sadness is powerful. In that sense, I wanted to let readers know that feelings of sadness are also positive. My aim was to show how I had evolved little by little within the feeling of sadness, and to make the reader think that it was not all bad.
HT. What was your change after the trip?
CY. Actually, I was on the trip for nearly a year, but recalling it, there were two changes. First of all, ‘No problem’ sticks in my mouth, even my mother warned me to stop saying it. Before going on the trip to India, when I recognized some problems, I would have gone crazy to work on solving them. Now I'm thinking beyond that. In India I reserved a train at 3:00 pm, but the train came at 2:00 am the next day. I went crazy about that, but local Indians just took it for granted. I think India is the place with that kind of value. ' It'll work out!'
Secondly, I’ve sparkling eyes since I went to India. I think there are features of people who have chosen that destination. Many people who choose Europe and HongKong usually want to take a rest. But in India, most travelers come for a time to think before facing important choices in their lives. If I keep hanging out with these people, I will become like them. The hardest thing for me when I came back to Korea was the feeling that people's vision was all gone.
Now, of course, I think I'm a little bit changed. But I loved that experience, and I would go again if I had the opportunity to regain my sight at any time.
HT. Why India, the country where you can learn?
CY. Kim Hwa-young described India as a dream metaphor in her book, ‘Castle Built with the Wave of Time’. If dreams could be reflected in the current world and appear to be a place, I think it would be India. I think the dreamy atmosphere, like having a long dream, helps it.
Most of all, I think the Ganges is great. There is nothing special about the Ganges River without sitting down, thinking and witnessing the perpetual funeral going on there, and talking to a monk. Enlightenment may be instantaneous, but I think it becomes possible after building up several thoughtful times. It's a great place to build up a density of the thought.
HT. What are your future plans?
CY. I have to go to the army next year, but before going to the army, I plan to publish two books. I would like to collect diaries of the people who voluteered or served at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and publish them as a book, around April or May. Also publishing a book about feminism by the end of this year is my other goal.
HT. Would you give any advice to travelers who want to travel with you?
CY. I just want to say ‘Don’t worry’. People tend to worry too much about things that are not worth worrying about. My favorite teacher once said that worries are something light. For example, if you hold a fork which is very light, it will make your arms numb after 48 hours. I think anxiety is similar to this. Worries aren’t heavy enough in themselves, but it can often get really heavy after a long struggle. The same goes for travel. Put your worries away, let's think about the plan after you leave!
Choi Yugyeong email@example.com
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