2 Years ago Kim and Kyle were 2 lawyers. They had graduated with top grades from a top college and were ready to make their way in the world. The entire world was laid out before them. There was one problem; they were miserable. Here’s how they made the change and turned their life around 180 degrees and are now happier than ever.

I met Kim and Kyle through my wife. She had gone to college with Kim and when I threw a party in Virginia Beach with a couple of other friends for a long Labor Day weekend. Kim and Kyle had recently started dating and they looked happy enough. The next thing I heard about them was that they were giving up being lawyers and leaving on the next plane to teach English in Korea. No, not / Anthony Bourdain travel-channel big-city Seoul but about an hour out by train into the mountains in a smaller city (30,000 people) Hongcheon.

Updates came every so often – they were getting married, in Bali. They were vacation here, there, everywhere (jealous – I want to chill in Bali!). They lost a LOT of weight; Kim: ~ 35lbs, Kyle~ 85lbs by taking up activities like hiking in their new neighborhoods, adventuring and relaxing pursuits like Mixed Martial Arts (jealous-er – I want to have more adventures!)

Kim had an Amazon Kindle – like device (BeBook), on which she was reading more fiction than ever. When Jen and I got married they sent us wooden Korean wedding ducks – now proudly displayed on our mantle – and an explanation of their role in culture. Which they were now becoming part of. (Supremely freaking jealous – I want a shiny new toy and to read more while being culturally immersed!!)

Then, this past week, I caught their blog on Facebook. It was a post about soup. Simple but delicious-looking. I wanted that soup. The internet, while roughly 4 times faster in Korea than here in the States couldn’t deliver it so I did the next best thing; I read their website. There, flickering on my monitor, was an account of people they were teaching while taking the adventure of a life time.

Let’s Recap:

  • Quit soul-killing lawyer jobs in Virginia.
  • Move to and teach ESL in Korea.
  • Dramatically improve their physical and mental health.
  • Got married in Bali.
  • Adventure after adventure after adventure.
  • Helping real people achieve their dreams while helping themselves.

That my friends is jealousy checkmate.

I had to get an interview. Since they were 13 hours ahead of me, the best time for me to get a hold of them was on a Saturday night. We had a great session – me from my desktop in my house and they from a local coffee shop on South Korea’s blazingly fast internet.

Sadly, while they were up for the interview, my video recording software was not. So, while I get that sorted out, check out their YouTube videos talking about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it! A great, great story. They also have a website Teach English Abroad where you can see more of what they do everyday.

Why Kim Decided to Give it All Up and Teach in Korea

Korea’s Hiring

I am not sure if Kyle has a ‘before’ video but this one could to serve as an ‘after’ shot illustrating the benefits he’s realized from making such a dramatic life change.

The thing I like the most about Kim & Kyle’s story is that it’s a great example of ‘doing well by doing good.’ They are helping teach life skills to a new generation of children while simultaneously deriving enormous financial, psychological, and personal benefit from it.

What about you? Have you ever contemplated giving it all up and moving on to do something completely different? If you did, how did it work out and what did you learn?

Comments (4)

I can’t tell you how awesome this is — I really enjoyed your post, Ted.

And, good for Kim and Kyle! I love these kinds of stories. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it out to be, you know?

About your questions, the short answer is a bit fat YES. I gave up a career as a scientist (molecular biologist) and became an endurance coach (triathlon, swim races, marathon), personal trainer, and massage therapist. It was the most fun career I’ve ever had, by far. Also, while I was a scientist, I switched departments for about two years to become a full-time science writer (writing about science for the general pubic, basically). I also LOVED that job, too.

I think it’s important to try new things and to get ‘out of the box’, per se. There’s so many fun things in this life — why not try on a few things for size, right?

Great post, Mr. Ocean Ted.

Great article Ted!! We are very flattered that you wanted write something about us. Bummed that the video of our interview is giving you problems.

Kyle doesn’t have any “before” videos but I might be persuaded to post a picture!

Thanks again!!

Kim, I’m flattered you guys would take the time for the interview! I’ll get the video thing straightened out sooner or later but the good news is that I got a nhour of clear MP3s – I think I must have had a Skype setting incorrectly set.

For now there’s a transcription service I’ve been meaning to try out and I should get some excerpts out soon – you guys have a phenomenal story and it should be told! And if you have a photo I could use for this post, please send it (Kyle or the amazing mountains, children, or anything else!)

If you ever get writer’s block, I think the story of your wedding is incredible.

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