After a lifetime of build-up and anticipation, would Japan let me down? Go grab yourself a snack and settle in as I expose what resources we used to travel here, the experiences we had and what 22 days in amazing Japan actually cost us.
This phrase has become the perfect way to describe what's it's like to live in Asia since I lack the vocabulary skills to properly describe all the fun nuances or "WTF?" moments I get to experience in day to day life.
When I was little, my favorite book was called, 'The Boxcar Children'. In it, a group of four orphaned siblings find an old boxcar in a forest and make it their home. The story captivated me in ways I never imagined and it felt like a call to action for six year old me to leave my golden cage of My Little Pony bedsheets and return to the forest...
I love being out here, no phone service, no map and no real plans. We're thousands of miles away from the U.S. on a Tuesday afternoon and no one knows where we are or what we're doing. I feel alive on these days. We keep following the trail...
I wasn’t going to post this story but then figured that stories involving poop and mishaps are universally funny. In fact, if all the world leaders told each other a good poop joke, I’m convinced there would be no more wars. Ok, here goes nothing…
I have a million experiences to share this last year, but there is one that keeps me awake at night. It’s not as adventurous as climbing the Khongor sand dune in Mongolia, and not as exciting as running from a landslide in China. But this seemingly common interaction is forever burned into my waking moments and is the basis as to why I will fight for this travel life until my last breath.
A maddening thought but with one foot off the curb I said a prayer and trusted the system. “HOLY SHIT! I’M DOING IT!” I made it to the other side and though it looked like nothing to the outside observer, I was taking a victory lap in my brain.
I come across an article that outlines something called the Phajaan or ”the crush” (Google this only if you want to ruin your whole day) but every single domesticated that is used to “perform or work” (i.e. logging, painting, elephant rides, circus tricks, forced breeding, street begging, etc.) has undergone this ancient form of extreme abuse. Every. single. one.
It is one of my goals in this life to get people out of towns they were born in and see what this incredible world has to offer. As long as I have breath in my body, I will attempt to dispel the myths that travel is 1) for the rich 2) for the retired 3) for the lucky.
There are street dogs everywhere. There are female dogs with teats so low to the ground they scrape the concrete, dogs with mange and open festering wounds who look at you, pleading with their eyes but cross the street if you get too close. There are dogs that eat our trash outside the gate and flinch each time I throw them bread acting as if I’m throwing rocks.
I’m proud to say I’m an American, I’m proud to say I’m from Tacoma. I will never lie about either of these facts as we see other countries and meet people who are equally as proud of their home and want to share it with us.
Well, we’re officially homeless now. We don’t owe anybody rent, don’t have utilities bills in our name and Noah’s parent’s have graciously let us into their beautiful home to mess with their morning routine and use up all the hot water for the next two weeks! For us, it’s been pure luxury with home-cooked meals, cable TV and furniture! We’ve been squatting in our own house for a few months as we’ve sold/donated almost everything we own.
The thing I’m struggling with the most are my loves that I feel are the most vulnerable. Namely, my pup Ninja and my nephew Eliott. Small and precious as they are, the part that hurts the most is that they can’t comprehend why their pack leaders or “Aunteeee n’ Uncle Nonah” just aren’t there anymore.
Vaccinations. Or as they’re known by medical professionals, “pokey ouchie boo boos” are an important step for any traveler and today I am officially swimming with Hep. A, Hep. B, Polio and*Tetanus-diphtheria. My arms are aching but that just means that I’m alive to feel it and one step closer to exploring this world with my man!
The only way you and I can truly honor those that live a very different reality than ours is not through pity but to use our sound body, mind and opportunity and not squander it by zoning out another day. Another day of shutting up that little voice, the truth, the purpose of your existence. You / I don’t know the meaning of true struggle. Be thankful. But at least try something.
Come January 7th 2014 we’ll be stepping off the plane into “The Land of Smiles”. This will officially be our very first (now second, since we decided to go to Mexico first) country outside of the U.S. (We have an hour layover in Taipei but that doesn’t count. does it?) and this haunting land will serve as the bridge to our new life as modern day vagabonds.
This October – November we’re going to live in Mexico! Playa Del Carmen to be exact. Tickets purchased, apartment paid for (100 meters from the beach scene above… pinch us.) and now we just need to tell our familia!
I could go on and on but the point of this exercise it that for every single excuse you could come up with to NOT do something, you should type said excuse into a search engine toolbar. Like me, I am willing to bet that you will uncover an entire worldwide community that overcame those exact fears and struggles (and more!)
No one ever asked where I was 8 hours a day or what I was doing during that time but I’m sure they assumed the worst. Even my parent’s didn’t ask so I never told them. In fact, I don’t think I’ve told anyone until now so here’s my huge, dark confession…
So here we are, with plane tickets to our first destination and a date. Next comes the task of informing our family, finding a foster or permanent home for our Ninja (ugh), selling the rest of our crap, vaccinations, getting gear, visas…. we have so much to do. Really difficult talks and tasks are ahead and yet I’m Buddha chill. For years I’ve tossed and turned and slept in 3-4 hour increments. Last night I slept a full 8 and today I feel like I can take on the world. Get some.
This is your Auntie speaking. It is 3:06 am on a Monday morning, and I have work in a few hours. I’ve been waking up like this for well over a year now, I’ll toss and turn in bed for hours (to the delight of your Uncle “Nonah”) but this is the first time I’ve ever gotten up and attempted put my thoughts into a legible form. I want to maintain this little space on the internet so that you can read and comprehend these words someday.