60-year-old couple embarks upon a 40,000 mile road trip

Korea Daily photojournalist Hyun Shik Shin and wife set out to enjoy their 365 day road trip.

“This was a now or never decision,” Hyun Shik Shin said as he prepared to eat his instant curry meal in a parking lot.

Korea Daily photojournalist Shin and his wife began their 40,000 mile road trip via RV and plans to meet with JoongAng Ilbo readers along the way. Shin will document the road trip in a series of weekly blogs whilst travelling.

“This is Oregon. I passed through California three days ago. The mountains, seas, roads, everything is picturesque,” Shin’s voices brightly.

Ten days into the road trip prove the journey to be challenging for the couple who are both 60-years-old.

Hyun Shik Shin had been a photojournalist for 23 years at JoongAng Ilbo before starting his U.S. transcontinental trip with his wife Hyeyoung.

Everyone dreams about travelling, but it’s often difficult for even young adults to decide to go for it, Shin says.
In an act of no turning back, Shin and his wife stored all of their apartment furniture in a warehouse unit a month before the road trip began. Then, Shin gathered all of their savings and bought an RV where they lived and slept in advance to become used to life in an RV.

“We didn’t have a noble reason to go on the road trip. It just seemed like a now or never opportunity,”  Shin said.

Shin prepares for a long road ahead of him and his wife. For the duration of 1 year, Shin will travel 40,000 miles across 40 states. He will begin by driving to the Northern states, then moving to the Eastern and Southern states, and then back to Los Angeles.

For 1 year, travelling will be life, and life will be travel.

“We’ll be following the clouds and the wind,” Shin said with a laugh.

Discomfort has marked the past 10 days of travelling for Shin and his wife. Unable to find parking for his RV, Shin resorted to parking at the corner of a marketplace parking lot where the couple slept cramped up in the RV vehicle. For meals, Shin and his wife depend upon instant curry, frozen foods, and ramen. Luckily, the couple found a public laundromat to wash their clothes.

Reserving an RV spot at public camp sites is proving to be expensive. State parks charge up to $35 a night for RV camping. This cost quickly amounts to $1000 a month. Additionally, gas and grocery fees add up to $2500 a month. Because of the rising costs, Shin is now looking to more sponsors for funding.

Shin’s only complaint is the high expenses of the road trip.

But the more difficult the trip, the sweeter the prize. Shin recounts stumbling upon spectacular scenes everyday. He describes his visit to the 21 mission sites in California as “sublime.” Shin has also seen mountains covered in snow and magnificent unspoiled forests.

Shin’s main objective? To meet Korean JoongAng Ilbo (KoreaDaily) readers along the way. He will then take pictures with readers and record their stories.

In college, Shin was an architecture major who stumbled upon a camera on happenstance. He was so enamoured by the camera that he spent 40 days taking pictures, eventually making a career out of it.

“Photography reveals truth itself. I hope to find myself in this journey,” Shin said.

Shin’s wife Hyeyoung hopes to spend more time with her husband during the road trip. “I look forward to growing closer as a couple away from our busy lives.”

Shin will be documenting his experiences in a weekly travelogue blog series entitled ‘Misadventures of and RV couple’s 365 day trip around America’ on the JoongAng Ilbo website. Shin recorded his first blog on June 9.

“Please wish us well on our journey,” Shin requested readers.

For those interested in supporting Shin, call (213)321-2334.


Originally reported by Koo Hyun Jung

Original article manuscript can be found here 

Translated/Adapted by Hankyul Sharon Lee