Usually, I publish my travelversary posts during the first week of January of every year to celebrate how long I’ve been writing on WS/SYT. This year, I’m doing it early because change doesn’t happen if I don’t break tradition every once in a while.
From my balcony, I have a really great view of Yokohama. I can see the lights twinkle on the Bay Bridge and even the moon shines bright among the yellow glow surrounding Yokohama Station. The horizon expands on forever and offers soft pink and sherbet orange sunrises in the morning and deep purple sunsets in the evening. The panoramic view reminds me of how big the world is and how big I can dream. It’s like looking in a dream mirror. The dreams and goals I have in my head and heart are reflected back at me when I look out across the city. With a new year comes a new set of dreams and lifestyle changes. Yes, a new dream has manifested within me and it’s BIG. So big in fact that I can’t yet fully comprehend its shape let alone see the yellow brick road that leads to Oz. It’s important though. I can tell by its significant presence on my mind and soul as I move through each day.
Originally, I was planning to write about the 3 different routes I was considering taking next year which included either staying in Tokyo, moving back to Kyushu, or taking another RTW trip. However, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve dealt with some very taxing mental health challenges including anxiety, sadness and my first ever panic attack that have stopped me dead in my tracks and are making me face head on an army of insecurities I’ve run away from my whole life.
It’s scary to walk “Health Risk Road,” especially when I feel like I’m going it alone, but now that I’m on the other side of that panic attack, I’m grateful that it came when it did. It helped me realize that there’s more to health than just diet, exercise, and fleeing to the mountains to balance myself. I’ve never been actively nurturing towards my emotions, my heart, or my soul, and it makes me sad to think that I’ve neglected my very unique being when all it wants is to be loved wholly. The body is so incredibly genius in its ability to heal, and I’m so very grateful for all that my body does to take care of me even when I don’t take care of it sometimes. So this is the start of being kinder to myself and finding my way back to love, curiosity, creativity, and joy.
2016 will instead be about learning how to be my own source of light, wisdom, and freedom, higher levels of thinking, more profound and intelligent conversations with myself and those around me, and being smart about what kind of and how much information I consume from the media. It will be a process of getting to know myself better, being more honest about what I want out of life, and figuring out how to give back to others in a more authentic way. I’m asking myself to step up to the plate in a way I’ve never done before, and it’s terrifying as hell. What it comes down to is that I am asking myself to come to terms with the fact that I will never know what my future holds, and I’ll never be able to find out if I don’t focus first on my health and well being. I am worthy and deserving of all that I have achieved and no setbacks can take that away from me. Those are the most important things to hang on to. So that’s where I shall begin.
What’s New with SYT?
Well, for starters, I’ve scrapped my newsletter and Facebook page completely. A poor move some might say for those who are trying to grow their online presence, but it’s exhausting and stressful trying to take care of myself in real life and maintaining an image online. With all these new social networks taking off like Snapchat and Periscope, I can’t keep up anymore, and I’m OK with it. Staying connected through fewer social media sites is helping me better stay focused on my writing and photography.
Speaking of photography, my newest photo collection, Will Work for Japan, is now available for free download. Over the past year, at my own will, I went traveling to a bunch of different parts of Japan from Hokkaido to the islands of Okinawa in an effort to get to better know my new home country. 100 of my favorite photos from the past year as well as my first few trips in 2012 and 2013 are now compiled into one photo collection.
I’m so happy with the way it turned out. I’m nowhere near a professional photographer, but I really love this collection because each photo elicits specific memories that bring a smile to my face. WWFJ isn’t just for me though. On the last page, you’ll find a list of the blogs and other resources you can use to search for events in Tokyo, learn about Japanese culture, and plan your travels throughout Japan.
One last thing. Now that WWFJ is finished, I’m on to the next project. I’m writing a book. I don’t know that it will ever be published into a physical format, but it is a proper book nonetheless. The title is called To Be Determined. Essentially this is my way of coming clean about who I am, the way I think, and expunging all the demons that have eaten me alive over the course of my life so that I can live more fully in my truth moving forward. Things get really honest. Even those closest to me have some surprises coming their way. The writing and editing process will take some time, but so far, I’m really excited about how it’s unfolding. When I’m nearing the finished product, you’ll be the first to know.
Destinations Visited in 2015
A Few Favorites from 2015
- Rice, Noodle, Fish by Matt Goulding & Anthony Bourdain
- Sushi and Beyond by Michael Booth
- Binge by Tyler Oakley
- You Deserve a Drink by Mamrie Hart
- The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- 25 – Adele
- With – Tohoshinki
- Love Me Right (single) – EXO
Where to in 2016?
I didn’t do a lot of international traveling in 2015 so it’s no surprise I’d like to remedy that in the years to follow. Mainly, I’ve got my eye on South America, Africa, Antarctica, and Greenland. Being pulled out of my daily environment and routine always helps me to clear some headspace for creativity, clarity, and wisdom to offer ideas and inspiration for my life’s greater purpose.
In the spirit of travel and reconnecting with loved ones, I’m going back to America for a few weeks so I shall say goodbye here both to 2015 and to you dear friend until next year. Enjoy what is left of 2015 and go out strong. Thank you as always for reading and supporting SYT over the last 4 years. Can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us.