Standing at the foot of Paektusan Mountain in North Korea, June 2012.

Most of my life has been spent traveling. Although I haven’t traveled to a great deal of countries I tend to dwell in the ones I end up in for a long time. My work background has seen me learn various trades. In Africa I spent 8 years working in wildlife industry as a wildlife ranger and safari guide. In my home country of New Zealand, I worked in our Police force for seven years, before visiting South Korea. It was in Korea that I rekindled my passion for the outdoors, through its wonderful mountains. A 2006 visit saw me investigate its main mountain spine called the Baekdu Daegan백두대간 where I returned again in 2007 and through hiked with fellow NZer Andrew Douch. That walk led to an English guide book on the 백두대간 and it was during the writing of that book that my interest in Korean mountains and its culture grew. In 2009 I returned to Korea again, and walked its subsidiary ridges for six months, becoming completely overwhelmed by the adventure. I quit my job in the Police, returned to Korea, finished my MA in a mountain hermitage, and started Hike Korea in 2010. My business is a registered company with an ambition to promote Korean mountains to the world through hiking tours, photography, and writing. Its theme is to discover Korean identity through mountain. My work is more anthropomorphic, and contractual assignments have seen me produce publications on tree culture, traditional religions like Buddhism, Taoism, and Shamanism, island culture, and the homogenous identity of Koreans through mountain.  My work has now stretched into North Korea, and these days I tend to address the peninsula as a whole.  


Roger Shepherd.