|[Picture of the writer with the bike. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]|
This year, during the fall break, I had a life-changing opportunity to challenge myself and try an activity that I doubted I could do. While many of my friends decided to pick a topic related to fashion, art, and design for their ‘Personal Project’ (a project required from my school in order to complete the five year MYP program), I set a goal that no one easily thought of: cycling the entire route of Jeju. When I first notified this idea to my friends and family, they instantly said that while it sounded fascinating, they were unsure if the goal was attainable and worried I may be unable to finish the course as I was inexperienced. When I heard their reply, I was even more persuaded to cycle around Jeju, not only because of my ‘Personal Project’, but also to challenge myself.
|[Photo of the writer and her family cycling. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]|
When I first researched about the routes and distance I would have to cycle during my journey, I initially panicked. The total distance for cycling around the entire island of Jeju was more than 230 kilometers and I only had four days to complete this. I thought of giving up every day. Despite me contemplating about giving up, fall break came sooner than I thought. I was extremely nervous yet excited at the same time as I arrived at Jeju airport. Since I had not been in Jeju for over two years, I took a taxi to get to the bicycle rental place. On the first day, the ride was easier than I thought and I was able to enjoy the beautiful sunset of Jeju. In addition, as I mentioned in my previous article ‘Benefits of Cycling’, I was engrossed by how the bicycle routes were well constructed and there were stamps that I could earn upon a completion of a certain course. This gave me a sense of accomplishment throughout my trip and helped me to persevere. After a few hours of cycling, my family and I found a pension to stay for the night. At this point, I thought, ‘Why was I so worried about this?’ Yet, I was not aware of the obstacles that I was about to face.
|[Photo of the writer getting a stamp after cycling Seongsan.
Photo credit: Mi Young Park]
The next day, I realized how I completely forgot about a crucial obstacle of cycling: the uphills. Near Seogwipo City, which is the region that I planned to cycle on the second and third day, I had to cross two mountains and I did not feel prepared. Although I practiced cycling once a week a month leading up to the actual event, I completely forgot about the uphills. During these courses, I literally had to force myself to pedal my bicycle. If I stopped for just a minute, I felt myself going backwards due to the pressure of gravity. This made me truly understand the coziness and comfort of riding a car.
Fortunately, by the end of the day, I felt myself getting used to this new activity. Gradually, I found an easier way to cycle, especially when cycling uphill. I was finally in a tranquil environment to relax and once again to enjoy the amazing view. However, this moment did not last very long. The strong wind was blowing against me and my legs started to feel sore from cycling uphill all day. With these ups and downs of cycling, I grew scared about my upcoming courses and my motivation decreased. Despite feeling this way, I continued to cycle. In some hard courses, I even had to close my eyes to focus again (which was extremely dangerous) in order to carry on, but I never gave up.
Finally, the fourth day came. Luckily, this course did not have any uphills nor upwinds. I could focus on the pleasant view of Jeju. I also realized that looking at the view from the car and from the bicycle was completely different. In the car, I was always distracted by my phone that I was unable to notice the beautiful beach and mountains of Jeju. In contrast, I was able to focus on the sunset and sunrise view of the beach while cycling the coastline. When our family returned our bicycles, I felt a sense of sorrow and missed cycling, even after all the hardships with the uphills. After a short period of time, the manager of the bicycle shop gave each of my family a certificate to congratulate us on finishing the entire cycling route of Jeju.
|[Picture of the certificate. Photo credit: Mi Young Park]|
|[Photo of the writer with the certificate in front of Jeju City Tourist information center.
Photo credit: Mi Young Park]
Even though cycling 234 kilometers was hard, I believe this was a valuable chance for me to spend more time with my family and try something new and challenging. With this experience, I am certain that I will not be frightened to try something new in the future as well.
Seoul Foreign School
Amy Park email@example.com
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