“The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in mountains.” Surrounded by mountains and water, many foreigners who love outdoor recreation yearn to come to Taitung for its pure and unpolluted natural environment. In recent years, the number of tourists traveling to Taitung has reached new heights. Furthermore, many people are willing to leave their homeland in order to experience the leisurely and carefree life of Taitung.
Living in Taiwan for more than five years, Dacota hails from Portland, Oregon, which is referred to as the Rose City. “Most of the United States is boring, but Oregon is super beautiful,” Dacota expressed with particular excitement. For him, Taitung exhibits some similar qualities to Oregon in that it features beautiful scenery, clean air, friendly people, and is extremely suitable for outdoor activities. Even with the picturesque scenery of Portland, he still became enthralled with eastern cultures. “I had a lot of Taiwanese friends at that time, so I chose to come to Taiwan in order to immerse myself in the Chinese-speaking world. It was a dream to come to Taiwan to teach,” Dacota said.
Having learned some fundamentals of Chinese in the United States, he embarked on his English teaching career in Taiwan. “I lived in Keelung when I first arrived in Taiwan. At that time, I met the owner of a Douhua (tofu pudding) stand and went there nearly every day. We chatted for hours and I was able to study Chinese.” Dacota smiled mischievously, saying that his close friends were not good at English, so he was forced to communicate in Chinese. He also increased his Chinese proficiency by discussing and planning different hiking routes with other avid hikers. Being a nature lover, Dacota even applied to be a volunteer at Taroko National Park. After attending classes, taking an exam, and a year-long internship, he became an official volunteer. He proudly stated, “Although I’m a foreigner, I can still volunteer and help people see the wonderful nature in Taiwan.”
After residing in Keelung for a short time, Dacota desired to try a different style of life in Taiwan, and moved to the Huadong area. He first lived in Hualien and then moved south to the slower life of Taitung. “The pace of life in Taitung in very leisurely – calm and beautiful. There is a lot of hiking deep in the mountains. It’s a lot of fun.” In his spare time, Dacota enjoys solo or group mountaineering. He carries bougie hiking equipment with him to summit the low and high elevation mountains of the Huadong region. For him, even in a chaotic world, the process of hiking calms his soul and sweeps away the pressures of work.
In addition to enjoying nature’s selfless embrace in Taitung, Dacota is also very interested in the indigenous cultures of the East Coast. “Taitung is a little different from Hualien. Just walking around, you can run into super friendly indigenous persons without needing to make a special trip out to the tribal villages.” He said that when he’s not hiking, he spends time with his aboriginal friends and even participates in tribal activities. His carefree and unfettered personality makes it easy for him to mingle, interact, and have fun with them.
At present, Dacota is a foreign language consultant with the Taitung County Government. He assists the county government with translation, foreign guest reception, and plays an indispensable role in promoting bilingualization in Taitung. After a half year of being in Taitung, he believes that Taitung can be a mecca for foreign tourists because of the beautiful natural environment and conditions as well as good public safety. Dacota said, “The purity and beauty of Taitung needs to be preserved by the residents living here. If everyone works together to maintain a clean and natural environment, foreigners will want to come here for vacation.”
River Tracing：Sangshu River, Jialu River, Luye River, Luliao River, Zhiben River
Hot Springing：Taolin Hot Spring, Lisong Hot Spring, Lulu Hot Spring
Hiking：Sancha Mountain, Jiaming Lake, Guan and Xiaoguan Mountain, Mount Pinuyumayan, Dulan Mountain, Meinaitian Mountain, Penpen Mountain, Jian Mountain, Dapu Mountain, Zhenqizi Mountain