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Myrahouse provides a co-operative, ecologically sustainable living environment with monastic rhythms. We offer community outreach and education on holistic living topics such as organic gardening, contemplative prayer, and eco-spirituality.

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Father-Son’s 500/40 Backpack Trek

Father-Son’s 500/40 Backpack Trek

Once upon a time, there was a boy living in East Asia who had many dreams about what he wanted to be when he grew up. As he grew older, it became obvious which path he should choose.

He found fascination with the look and sound of the violin. Without hesitation, he signed up for the class and began learning how to play the violin. He really liked playing it so he practiced a lot. He wanted to be a great violinist. Yet, he had to let go this dream because his dad disapproved, assuring him that playing the violin wouldn’t make a living.

After some thought, he decided instead to become an army general. When he finished high school, he applied to the Military Academy and passed all the necessary exams. During the final interview he was to face grilling questions about his father’s multiple times’ divorces shown on the genealogical record. He never felt such an utter powerlessness against the given fate. He had to let go of his second dream sensing unfriendliness in his unfolding future.

After more thought, he chose the path to become an architect. He entered college to study architecture. He began a career as a draftsman and worked diligently. His boss liked his passionate work and helped him gain entrance into graduate school in the U.S. After years of more learning and experience in the U.S. he yet again had to let go of this third dream since his primary concern at the time was the well-being of his wife and two children.

After more thought, he chose a new path to become a pastor. His friend introduced him to a seminary where his family could live close to the campus while he studied. He really enjoyed studying religions and theologies. He was happy serving people’s spiritual hunger. He got his divinity degree and completed the ordination process. He became a passionate preacher and social activist. Yet, he felt breathless experiencing that his pastorate was played within the confines to the domineering politics and survival of the fittest within the institutional church. His gut was telling him to move on because the world needs no more such pastors.

Again, after much thought, he changed courses once again and decided to become a professor. He took many courses and studied hard. He passed the exit exams and defended his doctorate thesis. As soon as his dissertation was complete he spent hours and hours looking for a teaching job. In the end, he had to let go of his fifth dream because he did not want to waste his time and energy searching for available jobs.

Again, after much thought he felt he should wholeheartedly devote himself to build up a business his wife always dreamed about: a local family owned heath market of food and medicine. He began to learn about the differences between parsley and kale, lettuce and cabbage, and squash and cucumber. He would wake up at four in the morning and drive for a couple of hours on the freeway to pick up fruits and vegetables and return. He began to enjoy the delightful sweet aroma of the various kinds of citruses and berries during his drive back to the market.

One early morning he woke up and found the man of despair in the mirror reflecting an image of himself. He looked very exhausted due to the hard work of taking care of all the daily tasks and errands required to maintain his home, sustain his business, and not fall into financial burdens.

He began to meditate and was able to hear groans from within, “what is your dream?” He thought he worked hard dreaming after the professions of his choices. But all of those choices were now far from the reality of his actual circumstance. He found himself a loser in the race for fame, wealth, and power that most people in the mainstream chase after.

“What are you dreaming about next?” He realized then that he was getting older and that perhaps it was too late for him to pursue another dream. He began murmuring, “your dreams are all gone, and now, if you had one more chance, what would you do?”

After many meditations, he shouted out “100 days trip abroad with my son!” He wished 100 days because that would make him feel fully content. And he chose his son for company in order to spend more time with him before he left for graduate school. He also wanted to mend his sore memory of never having an intimate relationship with his deceased father. As soon as he discovered this dream, his dimming passion was rekindled and his vigor rejuvenated. And he asked his wife for big favor to make his plan possible. He also wanted make sure his daughter and other family members would take care of things during his absence.

He chose Jerusalem as the first destination since it is the birth place of great dreamers and many spiritual warriors. He had listened to these great dreamers his whole life as he followed their teachings to look inward and to follow one’s dream. When he began preparing the itinerary, he realized that he didn’t have enough money to cover expenses for a 100 day trip abroad.

Returning once again to his thoughts, he tried to make his sixth and last dream a reality by changing “100 days” to “40 days” considering his circumstances. He also revised “Jerusalem” to the “US Pacific Coast” and chose the back pack walking trip along the coastal trail in his residing state. He longs for this forty days’ trip with his son in the wilderness would not only be a rewarding timing between father and son for a more intimate bond but also for an awakening journey of beauty and wonder from the natural wilderness.

My son David, would you like to join with me for a walking trip along the Pacific Coast for 40 days?

Dear Dad,

I am touched that this backpack trip means so much to you. It also means a lot to me.

Ever since I was young, our family took camping trips to the woods and mountains.

The fresh crisp air of those places and the elevated feeling of inner freedom I experienced are deeply seated in my memory.

It appears that I am already an adult now. I am twenty-five, graduated college, and will be attending law school this fall. In some ways, I don’t feel like an adult at all but in other ways, I do. For the first time in my life, I have been thinking about the finitude of life and the quick passage of time. It is hard for me to swallow the knowledge that one day you and mom will no longer be here, and that I too will follow.

If I take a step back from my life and see how it might progress, I see that this time is very precious. I am in between stages. After law school, I will start working and may even begin my own family. I feel that I should not take this time for granted and create a beautiful memory that is reminiscent of the freedom and energy I felt being in the mountains with our family. This hike along the Pacific coast in US seems to be the perfect idea.

I am particularly excited because this will be an only father and son trip. Not that Mom and Lydia are less important, but there is undeniably a different kind of bond between a father and son. One of my greatest memories is when you and I went on a ski trip. Afterwards, we watched a movie, “A Beautiful Life,” about a father trying to comfort his son during the Holocaust by making the son laugh. I feel that you have been like that father my whole life. You have always brought to this world a cheerful, creative, and loving passion. I am able to see the world as good because of you.

So I know that our forty day trip, walking along the Pacific Coast will be nothing short of amazing!

Update 1

Sung and David are on the 500 mile backpack trek for 40 days from the Columbia River to San Francisco Bay

To be Continued..


Run, run! By running hard, David and I could get in the South West 7:05 am flight to Portland. After seatbelt on, deep sigh released over. Sensing muscle aches on every limbs of my body my mind kept went on: ‘Have you not missed any upcoming monthly pay dues?; Did you return the books to library?; Were your housekeeping guides thorough to family?; Did you forget anything to take for this trip?’
I had to admit that the trip preparation was not enough in spite of taking last two whole days except 4 hours’ sleep. Surely I forgot to bring severing things: tooth floss, towels, extra pants. In fact, David and I got on the flight with each small bag that surely can be assumed as few days of short trip.
Thinking about a camping near the canyon brook, waking up by the waterfall sound, tasting the exotic food of each town, those thoughts have been romantically intriguing. However, slowly, little doubts emerged: ‘Where do you sleep in the rain storm when no near campsite? What would happen if you lose the path a way out after hours’ walk? How do you take care of food not just for few days but for 40 days?
Adding housekeeping matters at home, all sorts of concerns grow huge. All of sudden, those worries are gone when I notice David, my son, is sitting next to me and going away with me as a companying buddy. And I become more relaxed realizing that someone is waiting for us at the Airport upon our arrival.
I felt so fortunate when I connected with Al LePage who is working as a director of National Coast Trail Association in Oregon. Al has been directing our trip as if a captain plans and proceeds. Al’s generous offer made our trip really happen. Actually, this 40days’ back pack trip took a year-long preparation. But I could not believe the fact that this 40days’ away is really happening this very moment.
Without our community’s full support, this trip won’t be realized. I am so thankful for the Myra House family: Sunyoung, Andrew, Max and Jason who are well taking care of the house and ecoterra. I am also grateful for Rev. Curtis and Charlyn’s unwavering friendship. Sue’s faithful prayers kept sustained our good cause. Lydia’s effort to take care of many parts of my work is the greatest relief. Most of all, Myra’s unconditional love that I am amazingly grateful, listened and allowed us take on what her husband pursues.
I began to ease and able to read the letter I brought with me on the trip since I have not had a chance to read for two days. It was James’ letter upon my request before his proposal to Lydia couple of month ago. Three pages’ letter well stated why he loves Lydia and how he will make her happy. I become relieved knowing that James loves Lydia very much with not only helpless feeling but through genuine yearning. Also, my trust grows toward James finding he will make Lydia happy by full willingness to listen, learn and commit.
Surely feeling great love and sense of big support, I feel like I am a ready person who takes on a journey. So, I want to assure asking to myself: are you ready to be away freely? Can you not worry what you have been attached so long… leaving everything utterly behind before departing? Looking down the crisp lines of woods, rivers and towns near by Portland, I began to murmur: this trip would be just like a once a life time trip. Make the best of this trip just like a youth who seeks most enjoyment. Yes, I am departing like a man as if he would not return for 40 days, even forever perhaps.


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