“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
f I had a dollar for every existential crisis I’ve had in my twenties I would have enough money to easily jet off on a 12 month RTW trip at this very moment; fund the whole damn thing, and still have money left over to re-adjust to life at home when I got back.
But it’s funny how life works– if it wasn’t for my random bouts of anxiety brain I don’t know that I would have ever summoned the courage to book my flight to Japan.
Without a doubt Japan will forever hold a special place in my heart, but if I’m being completely honest, prior to my trip, I’ve never had a particularly strong desire to visit. My only introduction to Japanese culture came from briefly taking a semester of Japanese language in high school, in which admittedly, I learned absolutely nothing. Ichi, ni, san, was pretty much the extent of my Japanese educational endeavor. Sorry Sensei!
The truth is– it would have been years before I ever set foot on Japanese soil had it not been for a disastrously yet wonderful concoction of: one-part midlife crisis, one part cheap airline tickets, and two parts hard liquor. Oh to be twenty-something.
Maybe it was the booze, maybe it was my heightened sense of stress, but it was all definitely a bit of a blur. As anxiety often does—one minute I’m happily shoveling spoonful’s of ice cream into my mouth whilst bingeing on my favorite Netflix flick; and the next, I’m ugly crying into a bottle of Hennessy questioning all my life choices and wondering where the hell my life is headed.
In the past year-or-so I’ve picked up this rather quirky habit of perusing flight deals and travel packages on the web as a way to cope with my anxiety. ‘Cuz you know a girl can only dream! Much to my dismay however, on most days, even the ‘super affordable last minute deals’ are way out of my price range. On this particular nerve-racking night my lucky stars must have aligned because I hit a jackpot that most novice travelers can only dream of.
—>Los Angeles, CA to Tokyo, Japan: $390.56 USD (Roundtrip ticket, including all taxes & fees)
It seems I make my best decisions whilst spiraling into a hole of self-pity because within 20 minutes I went from sitting in a puddle of my own tears to celebrating the flight reservation confirmation hitting my inbox. I’ll admit I didn’t quite think it through. At the time– I couldn’t afford it, I had nobody to go with, I didn’t even know where Japan really was! But I booked it anyway. I was going to Tokyo and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. Not even the fact that I had to live off beans and cup-of-noodles for the weeks to follow in order to afford the trip. I wouldn’t typically recommend this strategy but desperate times call for desperate measures!
And damn am I glad I took the plunge.
Since getting back home I have a heightened sense of independence and desire to live life out of my comfort zone. I guess it’s true what they say– travel really does have a way of changing you.