Hey – travelling is an investment. An investment in me. Me running wild in anime shops and konbinis. God, I swear I’ll die over there.
I decided to go back to Japan in 2018. What better way to celebrate my mediocre time back home than by splurging on a holiday I’m not sure I can actually afford. Like, no one should ever hire me because I don’t know how to be responsible with money. (What will happen to my alternate universe first-born when I can’t even buy him new clothes that fit). Picture this commercial:
DO YOU WANT SPEND LOTS OF MONEY ON A VACATION
WHERE YOU GET TO GO SOMEWHERE SUPER COOL AND EXPENSIVE
AND SPEND MORE MONEY
And there you have it. I fell for that. An ad made by me, in my head.
But it’s exactly because I have been feeling low that I need to go. And, as I’ve said before, I don’t think travelling will cure me, definitely not, that’s not where I’m coming from. What will help me on the way though, is a challenge. I learned a lot about myself the last time I travelled alone, and not all of those were good things.
I learned that I have a long way to go when it comes to dealing with my anxiety. And I know that sounds ridiculous, right, because I was on the other side of the planet, by myself, and I managed. But what I didn’t boast about were the hours I’d walk through crowded markets, starving because I was too scared to walk up to a stand. I didn’t mention all the times I stared longingly at the sea, too hesitant to get in the water. I didn’t share the (cue the TMI) fact that I was constipated for a month because my body literally couldn’t use the bathrooms.
And the truth is, while the week I spent in Tokyo was beyond my most absurd fantasies, I mean it was amazing in every way you can imagine the use of the word, it was also the loneliest. Like, I’d sit in my hostel bed, pull the curtain for privacy and watch anime for entire evenings instead of going out, because I didn’t know what more I could do than visit museums and shops and just spend money. I felt so lonely, even though Japan is the greatest country in the world (obviously a hyperbole; it has come to my attention that people think I’m being serious – and probably a tad delirious – when I proclaim I’ve met celebrities and actually just saw someone who looked like them on the bus or talked to someone who works at the local theatre).
But despite all that, despite the solitude and the homesickness (after six weeks backpacking I was definitely ready to go home – chicken), Tokyo is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. And I’ve spent every day since then dreaming of my return. Dreaming of going back to Japan.
And I am. I managed to snatch flight tickets to Tokyo during a January sale, and will be going for four weeks from July to August later this year. Four whole weeks. As to what I’ll be doing over there (or how I’ll even pay for it), I have absolutely no idea. I guess I’ll sort that out later.