Meet Juyoung Ha

On the pier in Swakopmund, Namibia


I had the privilege of meeting Juyoung Ha on my tour visiting Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Since we had three solo lady travelers, we took turns sharing accommodations which allowed me the opportunity to get to know Juyoung on a more personal level. Let me tell you, this lady blows my mind.

Hailing from the beautiful country of South Korea, on March 8, Juyoung left her home, her family and her job with only a backpack to take on the world for a full year. She began her journey in Cape Town by meeting up with a few other Korean adventurers to conquer South Africa’s Garden Route.  Following their Garden Route trek, Juyoung and her travel companions split up to pursue different paths of interest which is how I met her.

Let me give you the low down on the is woman. She is 36 years old. She is not married which is unusual for a woman of her age in South Korea. She had a good job as a sales analyst that she walked away from in order to chase the world. One of the most amazing facts about Juyoung is that she has only been speaking English for three months.

Can you imagine taking on the world without knowing very much English? She joined a three-week tour which wound up being mostly Australians, South Africans (who also tend to speak really good English) and me, one American. She is more than a trooper, she is simply amazing. She asks questions constantly to learn new words, new slang and slang hand gestures (like “rock on” and “thumbs up”). She repeats new words and phrases over and over to try to cement them into memory. She also types them into her phone to recall at a later time.  She is fearless in her pursuit to learn English and in her pursuit of life.

After traveling for nearly a month, she has already bungee jumped and skydived. She eagerly joined the quad biking and sandboarding opportunities in Namibia. Her goal is to visit Africa, Europe, North America and South America. This beautiful lady is living life to the fullest. She is an encouragement and inspiration to me on how she is not letting life pass her by.

It has been my honor to share time, laughter and hugs with Juyoung on this trip. I will surely miss seeing her when our time together is done.

What do you dream about? How does hesitation or fear block you from even trying to fulfill your dream? Take the little bit of English you know and just jump.