For some time, I’ve been wondering why it is that I adore traveling in Japan SO much. In one sense, this should be self-evident; after all, Japan is hands down the best place on the planet. And so, it only makes sense that I would derive a deep sense of enjoyment from exploring various parts of the country. At the same time though, I am feeling more and more that Japan’s majesty alone is not enough to explain why I invest every yen I earn on traveling.
This all got me thinking. At least for me, part of the fun of traveling is epic the adventure in getting there. As someone who needs to be in perpetual motion, I just cannot stand being inert. In fact, I get most of my best work done on random limited express trains that are bound for some rural part of the country. While some people cherish gourmet meals, there is just something about the act of going on an adventure that makes my soul sing.
The thought first came across my mind during this year’s Golden Week. With many Japanese doing what I have jokingly dubbed “revenge travel” after three long years of Rona-induced self-restraint, popular spots all across the country were filled to the brim with would-be travelers. Undoubtedly, the most frightening instance of this was a viral clip of Enoshima that looked eerily similar to that tragic Halloween disaster in Itaewon last year.
Not wanting to share Japan with literal legions of other domestic tourists (not to mention the international ones that are back in droves), I opted to head down to the Miura Peninsula. With no real objective in mind or place that I was trying to reach, I somehow found myself in Kurihama after a casual onsen soak a little before sunset. Remembering that there’s a ferry that crosses to Nokogiriyama, I decided to catch the sunset while cruising across Tokyo Bay.
Now, one thing that I had neglected to consider was that Golden Week this year was extremely windy. This meant that I was in for one hell of a bumpy ride. Truth be told, every other passenger on the ferry opted to ride out the rough seas inside. As for myself, I spent the entirety of the nautical trip getting tossed about on the back of the boat and was treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets that I’ve seen to date. Despite the battering, it was truly a memory to cherish forever.
As I was fighting to hold my footing, one thought that kept coming to mind was just how much fun this whimsical excursion actually was turning out to be. Here I was, being thrown about by gale-force winds in the middle of Tokyo Bay and I was having the time of my life. What’s more, I wasn’t really even heading anywhere. My only plans were to finish writing this article on Miyagi in a family restaurant on the other side of the bay before taking a train back to Tokyo.
This got me thinking — is it really the individual destinations themselves that makes me love traveling in Japan so much or is it the entire journey itself that is so appealing. Sure, the many attractions that I feature here on this blog are amazing and I don’t mean to belittle their magnificent but it’s the pilgrimage there that makes them all the better. They say that the journey is the destination and I can’t help but find myself agreeing.
Maybe, it is just my time out wayfaring that is really so appealing for me? It would certainly explain why I dread heading back home when out on one of my adventures. Conceivably it’s also why I like taking slower trains on the return trip just as a way of prolonging the adventure ever so slightly. Heck, I am doing that right now as I draft this article. Perhaps, it is the entire experience of Japan itself through travel that pulls at my heartstrings?
Am I crazy? Do I just have restless feet syndrome or something? Why is it that the constant, low-level buzz of inner city anxiety dissipates the second that I set foot on a train bound for the countryside. Do any of the other travel addicts out there feel similar? Can you also not really relax unless you’re out and about traversing from place to place?
Let me know if I am a psycho or just someone who has been bitten by that proverbial wanderlust bug. I’d really be interested in hearing what everyone else’s experience of travel is. Do you also slip into a state of euphoric flow when you set foot on the road? If not, what is the process of getting to a destination like for you? A chore or something enjoyable unto itself. I truly want to know!
Until next time travelers…