n. A person on a trip of indeterminate destination and/or length of time
Just Another Travel Cliché
It’s raining outside and I’m writing this from a café. I’m sure this conjures up all sorts of romantic ideas to what it would be like to travel and blog about your experiences. And it should. It’s the perfect setting for any kind of creative work. There is even slow jazz and idle chatter playing in the background. Of course, that idle chatter is all in Japanese and not conductive in the least for ease dropping. Perfect, however, for focus. Something I very often lack. We began this journey months before even stepping on any kind of foreign soil with a lot of planning and research like any good vagabond wannabe. And like any good vagabond, the lack of planning. We decided to keep a lot of our plans and even our destinations open. All the better to leave room for any spontaneous adventure (i.e. opportunity) that happened to cross our path. Even here, our opening destination, Japan, was decided because a friend of ours was planning on being here for New Years and asked if we would like to join. Yes! Of course, what better way to travel and explore than with people whose company we already enjoy. Back in the states, when sharing out travel plans, we got a lot of questions. “When will you be back?” “We don’t know. “ “How long will you be gone?” “Not sure, a few years?” “Where do you plan on going?” “Whatever sounds good at the time.” A hard pill to swallow for a lot of people who already have an idea of what travel is supposed to be. If you’re reading this blog because you found us by accident through your own travel research, you probably already know what I’m about to say. If you’re a friend or family or some other recipient, let me explain. Travel can come in many different forms. For some people, it’s taking a week off work and packing your adventures in that allotted time. Others it’s selling your belonging and bumming it across the globe. Sometimes it’s a mix. There really isn’t one flavor. The next few paragraphs are ours. Travelling the world has long since been a dream of mine. Beyond childish fancy, I gambled my life on it. Instead of going to college right after high school I worked on farms in California and Hawaii, a test run to see if I could cover some travel expenses by “WWOOF-ing” (Word Wide Opportunities for Organic Farmers) it. In exchange for a few hours of work, my food and accommodation would be covered. With that expense out of the way my only worry would be how to get there. I figured if I could save a few grand I could just go. It was much harder than I thought. Between one lay-off, some flakey roommates, moving back with my grandparents, three more jobs, one bad doctor’s bill, a truck that needed some upkeep, and one adventurous hobby (rock climbing) it was taking some time. I had planned on staying in Arizona a year, I was there for four and not even close to my goal. Sometimes your reality will not match up with your goal. That fact was just becoming clear to me. That was when I met Chris. Chris is a talented programmer and at the time we met had kind of given up on the idea of long term travel. Like me, it was dream that just seemed out of reach. Our first real sit down together, it was a jazz fest. Both of us getting excited about one destination after the next, looking at plane tickets, and bouncing ideas off of each other. Needless to say, we found the adventure partner we needed. Chris converted his job to be able to work remotely and we started to plan. I quit my job at a rock climbing gym and we tied up all our other loose ends. We packed, bought our tickets and here we are. Currently we are staying at an Airbnb in Kyoto, Japan. With Airbnb, you get a discount if you stay a week and another one if you stay a month. At our current Airbnb, the total comes to about what we would pay for rent back home. The price depends on how nice of a place you want to stay and your Airbnb host. In Kyoto, we get around by bike, bus, or train. When we were in Tokyo, by train. The trains are extremely efficient. We’ve hardly ever had to wait more than five minutes for a train and they are always immaculately clean. Our Airbnb has a small kitchen so we’ll cook most nights, but eating out isn’t overly expensive if you stick to some of the more local spots. Convenience stores, such as Lawson or Seven Eleven, have plenty of quick, cheap bites that we use frequently while out exploring the city. Our next stop will drop us in Europe but that is the subject of another post. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.