Generally this year has not been bad, but it didn’t go the way I thought it would at the beginning. Specifically, the dropshipping stuff was about as much of a dud as my swing trading was in 2017 and my restaurants were in 2016.

I’m still holding on to ZenKimchi Store and GeekDrink. They make enough money to pay for themselves, but that’s it. I make little profit from them.

Anthony Bourdain’s suicide hit me hard. I’m still dissonant from that. It looks like I’m capitalizing by featuring him on our BBQ tour, but I mourn him every time I’m in that restaurant. We talk about him on the tours, and that’s my therapy.

This was the year I felt like we were stalling, and I feel I need to push us more aggressively forward. We moved to a lesser apartment this summer. It has a homey feel, but it’s a definite downgrade. EJ is finally realizing that. She hates our old place, but I miss it. 

As for work, I had a nervous breakdown in February. I had agreed a few months earlier to take on a couple pilot kindergarten classes at the part-time job I worked at. I realized while chasing kids around the classroom that I had just reverted back to my first year in Korea. Fourteen years, and here I was back where I started.

The tail end of this year, I focused on making a big career change. I’m giving Korea one last push. If it doesn’t work out here soon, it’s time to leave. Jian needs to work on her English anyway. I’m looking at jobs outside Korea. 

There’s a business project some of us are working on. I really hope it bears fruit. I’m counting on this as being my last attempt. I have such start-up fatigue. I remember back in 2000, I was helping some tech guys start a new company. “Internet Racers” or something like that? The main guy behind it was part of the group that came up with the JPEG standard. 

That went nowhere. All the startups I’ve been involved in have gone nowhere. No, that’s not true. The tours have worked.

Generally, this year has been blah. Not much happened. I had a steady part-time job that kept things sort of stable while I worked on the tour business. I had no special projects until the Sexy Chef Calendar at the end of the year. 

I see this more as an incubation year.

2014 was a pinnacle. So much happened. Working with Anthony Bourdain and reaching a lot of my career goals (minus boodles of money) peaked that year. 2015 I was figuring out what to do after I lost my job and my focus. 2016 was the restaurant year. 2017 was a recovery year from the restaurants and my injuries from post-restaurant stress.

This year I had more recovery. Physically, my back was still rough. I will never run, nor ride a roller coaster, nor do anything that will involve spinal stress again. It’s too messed up. My spinal doctor was at a loss as to where my pain was coming from. My brain from the seizure feels like it’s recovered well. I’m back to sleeping normal hours, instead of 10-hour slumbers with full disorientation all day long. My mind is feeling sharper again. 

I gotta do some type of career change. I can’t be The Korean Food Guy, like my original hope was 15 years ago. I’m not Korean. The way the climate is these days, ethnicity bears more weight than experience and passion. I’ll just move on.

The good thing this year was spending more quality time with Jian. Not as much as I’d like, but it has been definitely more than when I worked at the restaurants. 

I’m planning to play it more cautiously this year. No big goals other than to work hard at whatever I’m working at. 

I want a vacation for once. 

Don't make mistakes other travelers have made!

Get regular emails with insider tips on how to maximize your visit to Korea. Sign up now!

Tour Tips Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!