Ken Son is a man of diverse talents living in different areas around the world. With diverse experiences in the fields of finance, languages, and history, Son constantly persues his dreams in various aspects. After a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in New York, he worked as an investment specialist in global financial companies. He never stopped dreaming and had the desire to study other fields, which led him to further studies in history and teaching as a professor. Currently, he is actively lecturing about Chinese history, and he also published a book which introduces his life as a Nomadist. In the upcoming winter, he is planning to move once again and continue to dream ahead.
Many people might not be familiar with the career Nomadist . Ken Son, who graduated with a degree in Russian Language and Literature from Korea University (KU), pursues his dreams while settling in different places around the world. Exceeding the values of traveling, settling in different places and working in diverse occupations create new lifestyles and perspectives. Son advises that life and future plans to be concluded but constantly revised, and proposes the idea of balancing all three aspects of work, travel, and study. At the same time, the inspiring yet untitled stories offer a new vision for many to continue dreaming.
Q: Why did you choose the lifestyle as a Nomadist ?
Actually, the word Nomadist does not exist in English, but when I define a Nomadist , it reflects the characteristics of nomads. It encompasses my desire to be free and open to the surrounding environment. I aim to cultivate the lifestyle of the nomads and challenge the characteristics that I have naturally received. Therefore, I would not stay in one area that is naturally given but would like to spread out to other regions and explore my true desires.
Q: What were your dreams as a student in KU and what are some valuable moments you cherish?
I was very active, and I liked to engage in energetic activities rather than static ones. I also enjoyed meeting people, and I wanted to work globally. Moreover, I loved learning languages and reading literature, which inspired me to become a multilingual interpreter. I actually worked as a translator for the National Olympic Squads in both English and Russian. Since I had the talents in learning languages, I had a dream of working with languages in the future. As a part of the activities in college life, I cherish the time as a reporter in The Granite Tower. Moreover, the experiences as an interpreter in international conferences were valuable as I could test out my aptitude for various job positions. Overall, I would like to say that KU is a place to discover one’s path in the future.
Q: Why did you decide to move around from Korea to the United States (U.S.), and U.S. to Europe?
At first, I was tired of the conventional values toward money that society imposes on people. I wanted to explore a broader world and challenge such societal values. In particular, the reason why I moved to Europe when I was in the U.S. was because I wanted to further study the European perspective on world history. I was curious about the peculiarities of the European point of view and also how the social orders were structured.
I want to stress that it is important to take time to reflect on yourself and get exposed to a different side of the world. Life goals should not be determined earlier to hastily draw upon a conclusion for the future, but they should constantly be re-evaluated from time to time. In the process of revision, one has to check whether they are on the right track. The conclusion should inevitably be delayed, whereas revamp should always be made to consider what you really want to do in your lifetime.
Q: What are your personal gains and losses while living as a Nomadist?
There are numerous benefits, such as gaining the chance to discover oneself. The extensive experiences of traveling to different areas broadened my mind and the scope of people I encountered. I personally believe in the concept of “Root vs. Feet” introduced by the European blogger Rachel Volchin that if we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet. One should be encouraged to travel around and value the experience of wandering.
However, in Asia, stability is often perceived as the most important element and thus wandering to different places is discouraged. It is commonly referred to as having itchy feet , but I believe that it is indeed necessary to move around the world. Furthermore, a downside could be that sometimes moving around to different places may seem lonely, but I rather try to make new friends in the local areas. I put effort into making contact and constantly building new relationships with people, which helps to overcome what may seem to be a disadvantage.
Q: What are your own standards of happiness and a successful life?
First of all, I would like to say that I believe the success judged by others does not really exist. Everyone has different standards of success, and I strongly believe that success should not be defined by others. To give my perspective on success, I believe that it is learning something new and sharing it with other people.
Q: What future dreams would you like to further explore?
For my plans in the near future, I would like to publish my second book since I recently published my first book about life as a Nomadist . In the second book, I am thinking about themes such as wanderlust and how it is perceived differently from the perspective of Confucianism in modern Asia. I would also like to publish my grandfather’s diary which is a detailed description of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake and the lives of Koreans and Japanese in that period. In the distant future, I also have the desire to study Arabic language and culture.
Q: Would you like to give any advice or say something to KU students currently?
I would like to say that students in their early 20s have time to prepare and dream about what they would like to do in the future. In order to prepare, students need to absorb as much knowledge as possible and create their own values about life and the world, which will eventually become a part of their own wisdom. Also, students need to open up and communicate by listening to what others say. Most importantly, the conclusion needs to be delayed since there are numerous opportunities ahead, and one should constantly reconsider the moments in the future.