Credits | Photo: Stock

After more than two years of research on the Korean War, and a completed first draft of my new novel, I am now going to South Korea.

Last week I booked my flight for Seoul, South Korea. I will be leaving Oct. 26 and coming back Nov. 3. I am extremely excited to head out to the Land of the Morning Calm (that's the country's namesake). The purpose for my travels to the Asian region is two-fold: research and vacation.

As you may already know, I recently put together the first-draft of my second novel that has a lot to do with the Korean War. Since I have written so much about the Korean peninsula, I really wanted to see this incredible country for myself. I also felt it was somewhat my duty, like I owed it to the work I had put together.

I am going to visit three major cities in South Korea: Seoul, Taejon (Daejon), and Pusan (Busan). The names are slightly changed from the Korean War to now. I will be viewing war memorial sites and sites where battles took place. These three cities were mentioned the most in my book, primarily the last two.

Yes, South Korea has changed dramatically since the Korean War through being an ally of the US, but not everything has changed. The landscape with its countless hills and many rivers hasn't changed. It's shores lined along the Yellow Sea and the Korean Strait haven't changed, although Pusan's beaches are lined with some of the most impressive hotels and buildings.

I want to get a good indication of how life is in Korea. How the people are. How the food is. I want to receive a solid encounter with the culture. I will be visiting palaces and temples and other notable areas. It is very exciting.

But the book is done, right? So why now?

Interestingly enough, I have become somewhat of a local expert on Korea. I have already spoken at the Lone Star College-North Harris campus to some professors on the subject. I have been asked to come back to speak at the college's International Education Week in November. I will be speaking about my research regarding Korea and primarily the Korean War. What better way to bring the point home than to have visited the country myself. From there, I plan to perform more speaking engagements on the subject of Korea and the Korean War.

I have learned so much over the past two and a half years that I believe others should know about it, especially the sacrifices made to keep South Korea a democracy. It wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always right. But it was done. And it will be discussed.

Also, I have two layovers in Beijing. The first is 8 hours and the next is nearly a day. The airport in Beijing has a train that goes directly into downtown. So I'll be able to visit the capital city of China as well.

These are exciting times. I can't wait to go.