The realization that I’m not going home anytime soon is starting to set in. I’ve never taken a vacation longer than 3 or 4 weeks and as I cross that threshold (26 days in Japan), the part of me that expects to go home and get back to work is a bit confused. I’ll admit Japan has felt more like vacation to me than a life on the road. I purchased a Japanese Rail (JR) Pass for $600 before coming to Japan which enables unlimited travel on the largest rail network here. While the freedom of unlimited travel is nice, I felt as if the little piece of paper in my pocket was compelling me to move and travel more than I would have preferred. The getting your money’s worth mentality was created with the rail pass. I have traveled like this before, in Europe and Central America, and while it does provide an opportunity to cover a lot of ground, it often prevents one from sitting still, intimately getting to know an area well. I’m looking forward to SE Asia, not having the pull to move as quickly and finding small places where I can read and write and hike and just exist. I’m hoping to find some interesting volunteer work that will allow me to become part of a community. This way I will be giving to or creating something rather than just consuming the place as a tourist.

Back to the transition aspect. There is a lot of it occurring. The 27th was my official last day of pay from IBM. I received a lump-sum but it was the equivalent of getting paid through June. I am now officially officially unemployed, drawing out of savings. I’m about to move from the peaceful, efficient and comfortable country of Japan to the chaos in SE Asia. I’m turning 30 in 4 weeks. I’m sure I IMG_0444 could go on if I tried! I’ve talked a bit about finding my posture and composure on this trip – something that one does not need to do when on vacation because you can get back to your routine when you go home. My routine IS travel now and I need to find a balance in areas like diet, exercise, rest, work and play, just as I spent years learning to do at home. Often I meet travelers who are on 2 or 3 week trips and are trying to see it all. I feel a little guilty sitting in the hostel working on my laptop or reading, but the truth is my pace and path is my own and I have to recognize that. On this line of thought I’ve decided to park for my final 3 days in Japan in a small mountain town called Nikko, an hour and a half outside of Tokyo. I found a great inn in Lonely Planet that is in a natural setting and the resident monk holds “Zen-Yoga” classes each morning, apparently a very meditative form of Yoga with some chanting. I’m going sober while I’m here, will eat well and spend time catching up on the technicalities of living that often get overlooked while on the road… like blogging about my adventures of the past week!

2 thoughts on “Transition

  1. Twice I have had a transition period with some similiarities to what you are having, e.g., moving from being goal oriented to being process oriented, working off a list of tasks to being in the moment.

    The first was when I quit Texas Instruments and became a stay home mom for afew years. The second was when I retired. In both cases it took me several months to make the transition. But it came… and it it is still another transition when you decide to return to the world of work. Each time I transitioned, I found the those values that make the new realm interesting and distinct from my previous world.

  2. Sounds like a tough challenge. Taking the ‘day off’ and staying at the inn, as opposed to venturing out, is going to be a bit unsettling, but I think your realization that this is now your life will help placate the feeling of getting up and going out. Volunteering will certainly help you slow down and absorb more.

    Recall the inn we stayed at in Chiang Mai, and the inn keeper who just sat around all day? If you have something similar there in Japan, try sitting out in the public area for the day and–if circumstance should allow–striking up a conversation. A little reading, writing, and conversation sounds like a pleasant day.

    Congrats on being officially laid off. One more step away from a previous existence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s