I came across this extraordinary sixteen minute documentary featuring New Zealanders Joanne and Gareth Morgan who decided to take a trip into the very private and unchartered parts (that is, for Westerners... well, unless your Dennis Rodman) of North Korea. This intrepid couple worked with Vice.com's Tim Pool as part of a project to turn their footage into the documentary that you see here. Pool's interview, Riding the Baekdudaegan, explores their experience of travelling within a communist regime. Just one of many world by bike adventures by the Morgans, it inspires us to think about riding beyond Route 66and how something as simple as a motorcycle can open the door to exploring new possibilities and cultures.
Living The Dream!
Despite the very real dangers of North Korea many people to this day do not realize that the Korean War (1950-1953) left families stranded on either side never to see each other again until 2009 where a lucky few won a three-day family reunion. It is hard to imagine that in just a few short months it will have been ten years since I lived in South Korea. Though I never visited the DMZ separating North and South Korea the atmosphere in Seoul was never filled with the tension and uncertainty that western media would have you believe. Still, if visiting North Korea is out of the question for you, perhaps South Korea's Changdeokgung, Namdaemun Market or Bongeunsa Temple might be more your cup of tea. My personal favourite was the Motorcycle Market, a mecca for all things two wheels including some out of this world scooters that fold up and slide right under your bed!
South Korea has a fascinating culture filled with some of the nicest people I have ever come across. In just nine short months I found myself engaged then later married and living on Honeymoon Island with my lovely Zimbabwean, Jennifer. Working as ESL teachers we found ourselves immersed in another world, or rather, as close to another world as you can be. Perhaps, not surprisingly, we also had our first baby later in 2006; though by then we were living back in the Republic of Ireland. I saw much of the same genuine warmth and curiosity in Southern Koreans that the Morgans encountered in the North. It may not be North Korea, nor an obvious destination but touring South Korea on a motorcycle will undoubtedly be an experience of a lifetime for those who want to to undertake a path less travelled.