Our Story

Our Story

We are Barnabas and Clara, native Koreans, a married couple, and best friends who are planning a round-the-world (RTW) trip in the sabbatical year that we gave us ourselves (because nobody gave us) to get recovered from the cancer Clara has been suffered, and even get stronger and healthier both in body and mind.

We hope that Clara is going to get entirely recovered from the thyroid cancer, and we will be having a healthy body and mind again, through this yearly travel.

Barnabas and Clara at “Harvard Campus” (Boston, US) ⓒRalaTravel


Why are you guys going to travel for “a year”? Even “around the world?”(though it’s really hard to find someone who have a vacation for a year as a young married couple in Korea)

** Read more stories at Why we travel the world?, Purpose of Travel, Principles 🙂

It was an accident. One day, at the regular medical check-up, Clara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. God! Barnabas immediately let her stop working, and get surgery removing the entire thyroid gland to remove thyroid cancer as well.

At the first time, it seems like removing entire thyroid gland to be the conservative way, even I soon found that the thyroid influences to our body in many parts so person who doesn’t have thyroid should take thyroid hormone medicine forever. However it’s the only way that even in today’s state-of-the-art medical technology, to the cancer. We had no choice 🙁

Thanks to God, however, Clara could get surgery by world best surgeon in the domain of thyroid cancer (Dr. Park, Cheong Soo at Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University, Seoul). She is now getting recovered day by day.

In this period, I also stop working by leave of absence, so that I could be with her at the hospital. Ironically, it was great time for both of us. Couldn’t be better being together, sharing time in the same space, and talking with small talks. Clara lied on the bed for her illness, by the way. Isn’t that weird? But I think everyone understand what I meant.

We got married after a pretty long time dating (8 years), to be together forever. But soon we couldn’t spent time together too much, for working hard on each other. Barnabas was busy at work, and Clara was too busy as well on her own business, so that our health and time for having a small talk feeling our love took second place to the job.

We’ve shared that we’ve missed the most important thing in our life, and agreed that we couldn’t be fundamentally transformed with an ordinary change. The train of thought has result in the ‘round-the-world trip‘, a lifelong dream in forever. We’d talked before about going the round-the-world trip on our thirties and sixties, respectively. We noted it somewhere though, since the plan which is not set with the specific milestones on the life was disappearing from the memory, we wanted to confirm that at this time.

Then “how long” should it be?

Living longer than a month per city would be preferred, at first. But after long discussion, the plan was too extended that the period was about 2-3 years, which made us scared with money issue for 3 years, as well as to the gap in our career in thirties. With the sequence of the meetings for a few days, we have reached an agreement on ‘a year’, designating July 1June 30, 2015 and June 30, 2016 as the start and end date, respectively. (The start date has been moved to June 30 from July 1, for ticket price difference (more than a hundred dollars!!!) 🙂 )

As you could see our “Destinations“, the first destination will be Finland (Helsinki). When one of my colleague at Finland (he is now working at Tampere) visited Seoul, told me that July (February as well, but it’s already passed!) would be the best season having vacation in Finland, so things like that, the start date could be set to July 1, and we could be filling out the schedule out of many countries.

Now, Clara is being suffered by aftereffects of not having a thyroid. Paresthesia, blood-flow disorder, dyspepsia, thermoregulation disorder, insomnia, and so on, make her sleepless, but also get tired earlier than normal people.

I could easily find people who doesn’t have a thyroid seems to be living in physically limited life. The common advice from them and a patients group of thyroid cancer was, develop strength of the body with steady efforts.

Further, the living legend in thyroid cancer,  Dr. Park, Cheong Soo told us that the best way to win the cancer is not getting angry but getting inspired and being touched from many things. (You could find more from his book, “Thyroid Cancer Story by Dr. Park, Cheong Soo” )

While traveling, there should be so much time on trekking, and seeing the good and the beautiful nature. Having a year together with being touched from wonders of nature, and exercising in many ways, would be allowing Clara to be getting recovered and healthy. All this is our hope for now, but we wish we could be saying you the news saying ‘Rala‘ to all over the world 🙂

Stay tuned for more interesting stories!


** Curious about our stories? Read more at Our Story, Barnabas and Clara, Why we travel the world?, Principles, and Destinations.

Barnabas Kim

Barnabas Kim

Barnabas earned BE, MS degree in computer science, and has been working as a software engineer for around 12 years in pretty various fields. Now he is planning to make money from freelance software development while traveling.

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