You Can Actually Do That Crazy Thing In Your Thirties

One of the biggest lessons I always learn when I’m doing something “crazy ” is that although it seems nuts at first, once I do it, I find it’s actually way more normal and doable than I’d previously thought.

Well, maybe the word ‘normal’ is an exaggeration, but the crazy things are definitely doable- a lot of times even easy! And there are others out there who are actually doing the same crazy things and will recognize you as kindred spirits.

My example right now is solo travel. People sometimes say to me, “you’re traveling alone?! That’s scary!” Or “are you lonely?” Or even, and especially back in the states, “why would you travel alone?”

But then I meet other solo travelers while I’m traveling, and I realize that that thing I’m doing that many people consider ‘crazy’ is actually nothing compared to how crazy it can get- I meet people doing 5 months of solo travel as opposed to my two weeks. I meet people doing world travel to indonesia, Berlin, Sri Lanka, America, and Japan, as opposed to my simple Japan trip.

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Very sweet German girl I met in Okunoshima who’s traveling around the world.

 

I saw an article on Facebook over a year ago about a random place called Rabbit Island. It seemed like the coolest place ever, but there are so many cool places in articles on Facebook that I didn’t really think much of it. Plus it was far- all the way in JAPAN.

Then when I started actually planning my ‘crazy’ Japan trip I remembered this rabbit island. But still, when I looked it up, it was super remote. Even the local Japanese barely knew of it. It seemed that almost no one had heard of this island and it was far from any well known area in Japan..like super duper far.

But you know what? I kept thinking about that island. It wouldn’t stop flitting across my mind. I love bunnies. Love love love them. And I thought about how much closer I’d be to that island once I was Japan than I’d ever be in America. So I made up my mind to do what it takes- what if I actually took the crazy long all day trip to go to this island?

And go I did. 8 hours of trains later I was in a heavenly fairytale of bunnies. And it was worth everything.

And people may look at you funny when you do things that they consider crazy, but keep going anyway. You’re probably not even being that crazy. And if you are actually doing something super duper outlandishly different, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, who cares? Good for you. There’s not much new under the sun anyway.

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People from around the world who I met at the bunny island! 

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How to Travel Into the Unknown World In Your Thirties

I’m writing this from Tokyo. It’s officially 2:30 am here.

I say “officially” because I just came in on a flight (two flights) from New York, and in my mind it’s 1:30 pm, so things are a little messed up right now. I was able to sleep on the flight for 8 hours (amazingly), but I can probably still sleep again now, even though my body thinks it’s the afternoon. I’m pretty adaptable like that.

So I’ll keep this brief.

This trip is something I’ve been planning for a few months now, and I kind of can’t believe I’m here. Literally, my mind doesn’t feel like my body is here. It’s a flaw that I have that when good things happen to me, I sometimes can’t accept them. I’m working on that. Also, technology is so advanced now that I can connect to anyone through my computer in milliseconds and not be so far away. Well, I am far away, but it doesn’t FEEL like it. Of course, there’s that whole language barrier thing, but I didn’t have to deal with it much at the airport today- I’ll encounter that way more tomorrow when I journey outside into the unknown in daylight- so it doesn’t yet feel like language is an issue. The flight to Tokyo from Chicago was 13 hours, so I know I’m not in Kansas anymore, but sleeping through most of the trip made Tokyo feel like a hop, skip and jump away.

I spent the past few months kind of unsure about getting here. I’ve never been to Asia, and I haven’t gone on a big international trip for more than 6 years. And I certainly haven’t gone on a solo international trip before. It’s funny, the whole point of this trip was to go to this completely foreign country all alone and explore with no plan, and be free. But then, a bit before I left, I began to feel anxious about going alone and having no particular plan. I mean, I know where I’m staying and have a trip outline, and I’m meeting some people here and there, but I haven’t filled my days full of manic activity- I just kind of want to be solo in a foreign world.

However, even though I fly more than 50 times a year and I still felt mildly anxious leading up to this particular trip- so I know travel fear can happen to anyone. I think this kind of fear stems from fear of the unknown. I like feeling prepared, and my plan to let go of things and remain less planned out caused me anxiety. Worries popped up in my head about about not bringing the right items and forgetting something Very Important and not knowing the language and missing some Very Important Sightseeing Places. I worried about feeling judged for not seeing things that were Absolute Must Sees.

But you know what? None of that matters. I’m here. I made it. I took a 13 hour flight, plus a 2 hour one plus a layover. And no one who matters is judging me…except for myself- the harshest judge of all, of course. And all that ever mattered to me was to stay open and loving and in flow. I just wanted to let go and let life come in. So I’m damn well going to do that as best I can. And of course I’ll probably feel afraid again, and things might be weird and foreign sometimes. But I have to remember that it’s not about the plans or the places. It’s not about the Perfect Itinerary or the Perfect Day. It’s not about the Must Sees or Must Dos. It’s about being in this very different place at this very particular point in my life right this second. It’s about breathing the foreign Tokyo air into my lungs and seeing how it feels. It’s about going. It’s about staying. It’s about the new. It’s about this moment.

So don’t be afraid to travel. Don’t be afraid at all.  You may feel fear but it’s okay. Go anyway. Grab the moment. And let go of everything else.

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I have no idea what this subway sign means. But I like it.

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