To answer this question, I’ll start with the most cliche quote that comes to mind.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” — Fred DeVito.
I know we’ve all heard this saying before. But hey, at least I’m not quoting Ghandi. In all seriousness though, these words have stuck with me and helped me get through a lot of tough times. Whenever a challenge seems impossible to overcome, I ground myself in this quote. Sure, it’s hard and downright frustrating when you’re gasping for breath on the treadmill sandwiched between a five-star athlete and an Instagram model or struggling to bench just the bar with no added weight at the gym, but if you don’t push your limits, you’ll never see progress. You won’t change. It’s true, to become stronger, we have to break down our muscles. It’s hard and painful, but that’s the point.
Traveling does to the mind what exercise does for the body. It’s a unique learning experience that removes you from your comfort zone. It expects you to interact with people who have lived very different lives from you or perhaps don’t speak your language. You observe the world in a new light, and your perspective changes because you gain an understanding of the culture, values, and philosophies of the places you visit. It isn’t easy, and you will inevitably experience culture shock. You will feel frustrated that you can’t read the food labels at the grocery store or count change fast enough. Your face will flush in a work meeting when, after saying what you thought was perfectly fine, the eyes of your colleagues widen in surprise because you said something they considered rude. To make matters worse, in these awkward social scenarios, you may not even know how to apologize properly or express yourself. You will feel like an outsider looking in. It’s jarring and discombobulating, but it’s also exhilarating because ultimately overcoming these difficulties will expand your worldview and makes you an even better version of yourself. One day, those pesky labels will start making sense, and you’ll be able to count your cents with ease. (Please excuse my attempt to be funny.) You’ll learn from your mistakes and find ways to connect with your coworkers even though you were previously sure they hated you. Travel strengthens how you communicate with others and naturally helps you become more empathetic and sensitive to the needs of those around you. You also gain a better understanding of your home and culture when you share the holidays and traditions of your country with others.
I’m here to document and discuss my experiences traveling and living overseas with whoever may be interested. For now, I’m working in Japan, but who knows where life will take me next. I could write privately in an ordinary journal, and I do, but I also believe in making connections with people and sharing stories. If I’m open and honest with you, then maybe you can relate to some of my experiences and find support. Perhaps you’re thinking of embarking on a new journey and need motivation to get started. Hopefully, there is something here to spark or reignite your love of exploration: whether it be in your hometown, your country, or the world.
I also want to experience growth as a writer since I would love to write professionally one day. I’ve always loved the craft, but I admit since graduating college I’ve been slacking. Publishing my work online leaves me vulnerable to criticism, but I know it’s an effective way to improve while I try to develop my voice and style. I am always open to constructive criticism, so please leave feedback or message me about how I can improve my content!
I’m no expert, but here are some topics you can expect me to cover:
- Work life in Japan
- Travel tips and recommendations
- The Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program
- Life as an elementary school Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
- Daily life in Japan
- Fitness and health while traveling
- Cooking in Japan
- Socializing/Making friends in Japan
- Long Distance Relationships
- Culture Shock
- Reverse Culture Shock
- Traveling on a budget
- Hiking in Japan
- Onsen etiquette
- Japanese language and culture
- Studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
If you have questions or topics you’d like me to discuss, please send me a message!