Jaedong: Traveling Europe

By Lee Jae Dong of Evil Geniuses

After placing second at BlizzCon in 2013, I took a trip to Europe that winter. It was during the Christmas season, so the atmosphere was wonderful and also very different from the Christmas atmosphere in Korea, which was refreshing.

In Korea, Christmas for the younger generation usually means a day spending time with your significant others. However, I noticed that in Europe, people spent the entire month of December having a good time with their family and friends. The family oriented culture definitely left an impression in my memory.

Perhaps it was due to the Christmas season, but it seemed like many people came out to the street to enjoy the atmosphere. I went to something called “Christmas Market” for the first time in my life, and I found it very interesting. It felt rather similar to the markets in Korea where many people gathered to eat and drink together. As far as I know, Christmas is the biggest holiday in this part of the world. People were performing on the streets and singing carols. The beautiful streets, buildings, and everything really made this trip memorable.

After I wrapped up my Dreamhack Winter games, I traveled around Sweden and Denmark before competing in the ASUS Northcon tournament. I didn’t do very well in Dreamhack, so it wasn’t a particularly memorable event for me. I do remember that Sweden was extremely clean and full of very kind people. I stayed in a city named Gothenburg. I went there without really doing any research on the city and I ended up just walking around the city by myself. I rode the tram, watched other people, and casually walked around. It was a pretty city.

From there, I took a train to Copenhagen. I saw scenes that looked like they were right out of the children’s books I read a long time ago, which was very memorable. I also went on some kind of a tour on a ship, strolled around the streets, going into any place that looked interesting, and really did a spontaneous tour of the city. One thing that I made sure to do while moving from one city to another was to ask about each region’s specialty beers at restaurants and trying them.

While ASUS was going on, that area received a ton of snow and even a blizzard. It was the first time in my life seeing scenery with such huge amounts of snow.

I remember seeing many fans at the event, which was awesome. To be honest, because I participated in this tournament while I was touring Europe, I didn’t expect to do that well in it, but surprisingly, I ended up winning the event. I’m not really sure how I did so well, but I think it might have been because I competed in the event enjoying myself and without the usual pressure, which brought out my skills. The loud cheers I received from the fans there also certainly helped.

Following ASUS, I stayed in Germany for a while and continued my travel. I don’t particularly enjoy alcohol in general, but I do like beer, so I did drink German beers every day while I was there, and it was great. During the evenings, I went out and bought sausages and wine from street vendors, and I still can’t forget the delicious taste of those foods eaten during the cold weather.

One of my dreams is to watch a European soccer game in person and I hope I will be able to do that someday. My favorite team is Arsenal, so I want to watch them play at the Emirates Stadium. The Premier League season is starting to wrap up and Arsenal are in a fierce competition right now, so I hope they do well until the end. Also, as a soccer fan in general, I would like to visit Camp Nou someday since I heard that is the biggest stadium out there.

Another thing I remember from my trip is taking a train from Munich to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. It felt like the scenery from the cartoons I used to watch when I was little were being recreated, and it was so stunningly beautiful that I don’t think words could really describe it. It was one of those moments I wish I could return to with my close friends and family.

The last event on my schedule was the Millenium Cup, so I traveled to Marseille, France to compete in that tournament. For this event, I really only got to attend the event venue, play games, and come back to Korea. Because it was the last event on my schedule after a month-long European tour, I didn’t expect to do that well, so it surprised me how well I ended up doing. I remember being in a really good mood returning to Korea after winning this tournament. I had not known much about Team Millenium before that, and I remember thinking that their practice and housing environment were quite nice.

During the end of 2013, I wanted to travel around and compete in various tournaments. I was able to do so while making many good memories and also achieving strong results, so it was a very happy December for me.

I like to travel, so I often go on trips with my friends and family, but if I could mention another dream is to tour the world and meet many e-sports fans along the way. Because we all grew up in very different environments, it is always exciting to meet one another, spend time together, and share the good parts of different cultures.

If I ever get a chance to tour Europe again, I will let you know using my Twitter, so feel free to join me. I think that if I get some time this summer, I might want to visit Europe again, but this time in Spain and Portugal.

Follow Lee on at @EGJaedong