Life in Japan
It's been almost three months since moving to Hokkaido, Japan and our time here is seemingly coming to an end just as quickly as it has come. After boxing up our bikes and flying from Beijing to Sapporo, Brandon and I made our way to our new home in Kutchan, just outside of Hirafu village where we have been working for the snow season. It has been quite the adjustment moving here after spending almost every day for the past seven months on the seat of our bicycles. It's been a real change of pace to settle down for a while and I've really enjoyed being apart of a new community, having a change of pace, enjoying a full kitchen to cook, a warm bed to sleep in and I won't lie.. the heated toilet seats in Japan makes me feel as if I'm living a life of extreme luxury.
Coming to Japan I've had such a mix of emotions, thoughts and experiences it seems difficult to cover in one single blog post. So much has gone on that at times it has left me completely overwhelmed and other times has brought on such joy and excitement. Brandon has been working for a backcountry photography and guiding company while I have been working at the front desk of a local tourism operator and helping at the local yoga studio. It has been great to earn some money to continue traveling while also finding our place in this amazing little community. I work along such wonderful people and have met so many travellers coming through it's impossible not to light up sharing stories, hearing where other are from and planning for the adventures ahead.
Japan has truly been incredible and chalked full of great experiences. Among all the wonderful new friendships, riding through unimaginable powder, eating a ridiculous amount of delicious Japanese food, staying busy at the yoga studio, and visits from family and friends back home - I've also fallen in love with the relaxing onsens (magical Japanese natural hot springs), taken train trips to some of the neighbouring areas and have grown an immense love and appreciation for the local Japanese people and their culture.
I won't lie though, since coming to Japan I don't think it really hit me how run down I felt after biking over 10,5000 kilometres to get here. I haven't been snowboarding nearly as much as I expected to be or like so many of the people I'm surrounded by. When I first noticed this I began feeling so guilty as if it was my duty as a traveller coming to Japan for the winter season to be getting after it day after day, however the more I began to tune into this I realized I simply needed to listen and truly care for my body and how I felt. This has meant spending time at the yoga studio and getting lots of active rest, making a ton of nourishing vegan meals, meditating consistently, and reminding myself to slow down. I have certainly still been riding because the snow is ridiculously good, but I'm doing my best to balance both.
Just as the bike journey was such a profound learning experience in its entirety, spending time off the bike the last few months I have continued to grow and step into a greater sense of my own intuition for what's ahead this coming year. I've struggled in new and unexpected ways, but through those uncomfortable moments I've also come to understand, reflect and receive more clarity in what I want to be doing. With that said, I should mention this spring will look a little different then once planned. Honestly, I've felt quite hesitate to share that I will not be biking right after Japan, but for now that is the reality. This has been a pretty difficult decision with the nagging 'fear of missing out' however the new opportunities that have presented themselves has reminded me that letting go of expectation of how things 'should be' can create room for other incredible and unpredictable opportunities to reveal themselves.
As far as the next few months go my travel plans seem to be changing as I go, but among all these changes I know the opportunities ahead are all truly aligned with what I'm most passionate about. For starters, I've registered for an online holistic nutrition program and I couldn't feel more grateful to step into this exciting new endeavour. Studying holistic health is something I've desired and spent countless hours researching schools on for more than a few years, but now I'm really allowing myself the space to follow this path. I'm excited to fuse my Bachelor's degree in ecotourism and outdoor leadership with the holistic nutrition program and see where it leads me. That being said, I will begin the course later this spring and take my time as I continue to travel and pursue other passion projects and new opportunities.
As for the other adventures ahead, some will have to stay a secret for now (I am terrible at hiding my excitement so we will see how that goes). But my next upcoming endeavour is flying to India to take my 200 hour yoga teacher training. It seems surreal to be going so soon, as plans were shifted and dates were swapped, but because I chose to stay open to new possibilities I will be in India in less than two weeks. It's bitter sweet leaving Japan and the incredible people I have met here sooner then anticipated, but looking towards my desires and not dwelling on what I may miss or didn't do, I've opened up to an outlook full of growth and gratitude.
I definitely feel that I'm in this wild and exhilarating transition period of diving head first into what brings me to life. However, through all of the excitement I feel for what's ahead, these changes and opportunities scare the hell out of me. Being lead by my intuition and taking responsibility for creating a reality that aligns with my values is incredibly intimidating and uncomfortable. I know like any other journey, there will be ebbs and flows but regardless of the doubts or questions that may creep into my mind, I'm diving in and going for it. I'm trying to stay open and curious to things around me and most importantly trying to stay aware and present among all the beauty this life holds. As I spend the next couple weeks sorting out all the little details and spending a few days traveling Japan, I look forward to sharing my journey and seeing where this crazy adventure leads me next.