No… I’m not magically “cured” of anxiety. But I have gained a great deal in knowledge in how I deal with it.
The most important lesson I’m learning about being abroad is to love yourself and who you are. Because we are all different, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I thought it would be easier to post this video than write a blog about it as sometimes my words get jumbled. (I’m still active on my youtube and have some Australia vlogs there too if you wanted to know more about that~)
Have I written about it before? The change of semesters? I remember writing about the coming time for my friends to leave. I knew that no one could replace them, but this semester abroad is whole new animal for me.
I would like to make a proper video out of this topic.. Because right now I’m purely writing because my emotions are high and I haven’t expressed something raw here in a bit. But I know this will be scattered and not in depth enough.
Since the start of this semester I’ve felt off. The vibe is different. The feeling isn’t light and fresh as it was. I think that this semester there is such a judgemental atmosphere.
Last semester we could all have fun together, laugh at silly mistakes, and I think all of us where some of the most open minded people in the world. It was so easy to just live and have fun no matter what life stresses caught hold of us.
It’s not so much that anymore. Constantly there is gossip. And I’ve began doubting everything again. What will people say if I wear this? What will they say if I do this? If I get invited out to drink I have to ask, what if I drink too much? What if I say something stupid?
And heaven forbid I kiss someone. Or let a person who drank too much sleep in my room. Because trust me, these things mean you are just the worst person in the universe. (I try to avoid the word slut.) I miss the days where everyone just accepted each other as we are.
I like to think I’m open-minded. That everyone around me has their own story and their own life. But being surrounded by people who are so quick to judge me is turning me sour to the idea of being around anyone. Being judged I think gives you the feeling that you should judge back… And I hate when that person tries to arise in myself.
Again… I just have to get to the attitude of “fuck what they think. I know who I am.”
I do believe that for these people, the ones who have to scowl at every action of another person, especially one they know nothing about, are the people that will never understand the world in the most simple and beautiful ways.
It’s easy to pity people that live differently than you. It takes work to understand them. So I’ll take this semester with salt and allow it to be an experience to grow from. I’ll keep searching for beautiful souls and leave the negativity behind.
Recently I traveled to Australia and thought I’d share some thoughts since I’m procrastinating already at 9 a.m.
April 30th 2016
I’m on my way to Beijing right now. I’ll spend 7 hours there before heading off to Australia for the week. When I got to my seat and the plane began to take off, I instantly started thinking of my sister. This was the most beautiful take off I have experienced. The sun beams.. the clouds… I wished she could see it. Through my new life of wandering about I think all the time that she should be beside me and I’m wondering how life can drag us all down such different twisting paths.
I’m at a pizza hut in Beijing, China. I can’t get wifi. I’m not sure how to contact my friend. I can’t find my pen I like to write with. I only have yen… This is adventure.
Trust me… At first when I found I couldn’t get wifi I panicked a little about what I’m supposed to do for 7 hours. But after a little pep talk I realised how stupid that sounds. I have a book and a journal and endless thinkings. When traveling we should disconnect more anyway. Plus, these inconveniences are what make traveling so amazing. Getting through the struggle.
With my few hours in China I’ve gotten the culture shock I never had when I first came to Japan. I know nothing about China. The attitude is strange to me, the air is heavy, and I have no idea how to act or what language to speak. I think I’m looking like a typical super out of place American.
People from English speaking countries are lucky though. Almost everyone tries to use English in different countries. Most Americans can’t even accept that there is a Spanish option when talking to operators on the phone. I feel both grateful and guilty to have grown up where English is primary.
And of all things to have in an airport… a pizza hut? I was shocked. But I ran here defeated looking for familiarity.
They finally announced the number for my gate. It’s delayed until 2 a.m…. I heard Japanese being spoken on my way and felt relief. I keep wanting to use Japanese but then I think, this isn’t Japan anymore. But I can’t assume people know English… I think everyone should learn sign language. I think I’ll sleep awkwardly wrapped around my luggage for the next few hours.
May 1st 2016
I’m flying over Australia now. According to the flight map, I’m over Cannondale Mountain. The sky is a very pale yet somehow bright blue. The clouds below look like plateaus. I’m flying over the second country I wanted to visit the most. I knew about Australia before Japan from a birthmark I have. When I was little I thought it meant I was supposed to come live here. I wonder what adults thought of my thoughts when I was small.
Well, I guess they still think I’m weird now. But it’s so crazy to me. Two dream destinations, done in one year. Until this week I never gave credit to myself. But I think I did well the past year. The choices and steps I took, not worrying what adults think, or anyone, and just following my crazy, twisty, unrealistic path. I’ve done the things growing up people made feel impossible or worthless.
No one can tell you what is going to bring value into your life. We all have our own wants and needs. Trying to follow this set standard I think is why some people go so crazy. You shouldn’t be forced to live up to anyone’s expectations.
I used to crave, well I guess sometimes I still do, to be extraordinary. I worked hard to fix my G.P.A and get scholarships/grants to come to Japan. But I should have worked harder. Sometimes I can speak basic Japanese, but my level should be higher. I should study so much more. Financially I have always supported myself, but sometimes have had to ask for help in desperation.
I’m just average. And I’m becoming happy with that. Traveling has allowed me to meet people who think so much like me, but still in their own unique ways. I’ve been able to see that there is a whole world of misfits out here and though we can never 100% understand one another, we can knock down so many walls to meet, learn, and support each other. Interacting with these people always seems too fleeting, but having them in my memory gives me hope and inspiration to learn more.
Looking at the sky makes me feel at home. As I travel place to place above the Earth in the area I spend so much time gazing at, knowing that I could come crashing down at any second, I feel like I’m living. At least in these brief moments, I want to believe that trusting your heart can take you anywhere.
May 6th 2016
The hardest thing about travel is the good-byes. Constantly you are meeting and parting ways. My time in Australia has come to an end as I await my flight to China then back to Japan. My week was too fast. I’m not a typical traveler. I don’t go to a country to see all the tourist attractions and I know people will ask, well what did you even do? Why did you go? I go because I want and I do the things my feet take me to. I travel without a plan. My only hope is to experience and learn.
I came to Sydney to meet a great friend. A lesson I learned this year is that people gossip and talk about things they don’t understand. But the best friends worth having accept you on all fronts. I’ve been lucky to make a few friends like that the past few years.
Looking down at Sydney from the flight is like looking down at the sky. So many glittering lights. I’m wondering which one is my friend. Lately anytime I leave a place I feel like a little piece of me gets left behind. The question of “who am I” becomes both more difficult and more simple. I’m just a girl that travels with her Simba.
My head isn’t the most clear. Good-byes are hard for me. People say the more you do it, the easier it gets. But I don’t feel that. The people I meet, the feelings a place can give me, it’s so much that I can’t help be crushed by the weight of leaving it behind. Nothing is permanent is the worst thing, but also the only way life continues.
The ground has become black beneath me. Sydney is gone. And I wonder, when and where can I meet my friend again?
I’m so lucky right now. To meet all of these people. To be able to say I hope to meet them in Spain, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, etc, etc. Pieces of my heart are all over the world. The past year I keep trying to comfort myself by saying the world is my home. Things are incomplete, broken, sad… but these people and these moments… how they make me feel and grow.. I hope I can see my friends worlds.
Somehow in this weird life we cross and blend paths with so many people. I want to experience more. Many of my international friends became a family I never felt I had and I’ve met the most kind hearted and true souls. I know know much about what I want, but I hope that I can give others the kindness and acceptance these few souls have given me. I want to keep becoming a better, kind, honest person.
“Not all those who wonder are lost.”
Thank you Sydney.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
I haven’t been inspired much these days, but as it draws near for me to jump the country for a few a days I’ve been thinking a lot on what it means to travel.
I accomplished my childhood dream of seeing the sakura bloom here in Japan. The months leading up to that moment I was afraid that once I experienced this dream that literally saved my life over and over again, I would lose the hold on living. I thought, I will accomplish my dream this year, so I guess I should be happy with just that.
But we humans are greedy little things, so I guess it’s natural that by completing one dream I simply want to chase more.
I’m always thinking of things like, what’s my purpose? Am I even passionate about anything? Why am I even alive when there’s nothing I want to contribute? But I think recently I’ve figured out what I want. Ironically, I just want to be selfish.
All my life growing up I was called selfish. I was harassed and made to feel that I was a really bad person and that no matter what I did, in the end, I wasn’t going to amount to anything. These past couple of years my feelings are changing.
I decided I couldn’t help what those people thought of me. I had always thought I was trying so hard to be a good child and a good person. And even during my time here in Japan, I’ve thought I had been a good person and kind to the people around me, but still, you here the mean things people say about you when you’re not around.
But, for those people. Past and present and future. They never knew me at all. When you know and understand someone, you can easily accept their flaws. This year I’ve met so many people from all over the world. A lot of them a younger me would have judged harshly based on their outward behaviour. But once you know someone, once you take the time to REALLY listen, and to absorb and understand, you realise that each and every one of us, we are so similar. Some of us handle this by hating and saying bad things. Some of us handle it by acting strong and unaffected.
I learned that it’s okay to be selfish. Because even though when it comes to myself, it’s true. I’m incredibly selfish. But for others, I like to think I’m always there to support them. I can be selfish in my own life. But it doesn’t mean I’m not selfless when it comes to the people I genuinely care for. Selfish is too broad of a word to have such a negative connotation.
It’s difficult being at this age where you feel like you’re supposed to have it all figured out. What job will I have? Get married soon. Have kids before it’s too late. Etc. Etc. But that life doesn’t entice me at all. I used to think… I’ll work so hard and get this super important job and make so much money so I can have all the nice things and see the world and everyone will be proud of me and feel bad for all those things they said.
But now, that desire is gone. Honestly… it doesn’t matter. Did I make you proud? Are you jealous of me? Do you wish your life could have been like mine? All of those ambitions I grew up with were formed out of hate for myself and those around me. It’s funny how the answer had always been, let it go. Follow your heart.
It’s okay to hurt sometimes. So ask why. And imagine some different life. But I don’t want to waste my life on what others think. The adults in my life always told me I needed to be more realistic. But to be frank, I think adults need to learn the chill the fuck out. Even if my house is small, I’m still living on pasta and salad, my only companions are my pets… as long as I can go out into the world and see life, I don’t care.
My family called me unrealistic, but authors and artists call people like me dreamers. And I would much rather have no possessions and travel the world than sit at an office day after day. I hope I’m lucky enough to have both an amazing job and the luxury to travel, but I guess what I’m trying to say is,
I hope the world somehow can see what’s important one day. It’s not hating the people around you for foolish reasons and disagreements. The world can be much too beautiful a place to fill it with such hatred.
It seems that I can only write about change. Whenever I’m moved to write something, it’s because my world is changing and I’m not sure what else to do. Change is something we can’t control. Change is the only thing you can count on. Change is every single day, but suddenly the time comes where even though you saw change coming, you didn’t feel it until this moment.
I have four months left in Japan. I’m wondering what my friends felt at this time.
My friend drew me a picture in a bar the other night. A timeline. He’s always telling me things like… “You’re right here. You have all of this time before you have to worry about the things you’re worried about.” Actually… every one has told me this. Ever since I can remember, these are always the words people that are able to become close to me tell me.
I guess I always worry because I know change is always occurring. And it’s something I really hate me. Maybe even more than lies.
The past couple of weeks I’ve looked at the world I’m in right now. I’m exactly where I want to be. However, the feeling isn’t the same. I accomplished my childhood dream for coming here. And every time I’m outside I think, every thing is so beautiful. I smile for that reason. My feet are standing right where I want them to be. But now I have to figure out where to put my heart.
I worried a lot the months leading up to now, “What happens after I complete my dream? What am I supposed to live for?” I cried a lot. And I was afraid a lot. I was worried… what if nothing makes me want to keep walking forward?
The day I looked into my dream and thought, I did it! I couldn’t help but cry slightly in this park. People looked at me funny… but all I felt even more was that… I want to be stronger. And it’s very bittersweet.
Growing up hardens feelings so much. I never thought I would feel in my heart a goal to be, “When I see your face, I hope I feel nothing.” I can’t shake this feeling that as we get older our hearts grow so cold. It’s not always because we want them to, it’s just because we feel if we can’t shield them, we can’t go on without pain.
Despite anything, I always wanted to be able to feel with my whole heart. No matter how much the past hurt me, or how much I fall down in the present, I always wanted to be able to say, I felt everything with my whole heart. I really did my best without becoming like them.
The past couple of years, people keep saying to me, “Be more selfish.” I think I have in some ways, but in the ways that everyone keeps saying… The only way would be to cut off these feelings. And even though everything keeps saying, “forget, forget” I don’t want to.
I don’t want to forget the smiling faces. I don’t want to forget the stupid things. I don’t want to forget the tears. And even if my heart says that it wants to feel nothing when I see a certain face, I want to remember how I felt.
I’m not sure how to move forward right now. But from being here, I figure that’s probably just what life is about. In Japan I’ve learned that I know absolutely nothing for certain.
All I can experience is what I feel. And right now… I’m not sorry at all. I’m not sorry about anything I’ve done. And I’m not sorry about how I feel.
Today I want to write about this photo taken from this blog: x
See… I read a lot about my friends travels, strangers travels, brief acquaintances. But no one ever hits on the feelings I feel personally. I feel bad in my own blog posts I send to my university for being so intimately honest with my feelings.
I just sent an e-mail to my family and friends who asked to keep up with me while I was away in Japan. Recently looking at my surroundings and realising I only have 4 months left in this place, I came to the certain conclusion that I can’t live out my whole life in America.
I’ve never felt like I’ve had a home. (Maybe it sounds dramatic). But recently I’ve thought… I’ll just make the world that home. It sounds romantic and beautiful and that traveling is this glorious life of adventure and mystery and freedom. But also deciding that this is the path I’ll probably take, it comes with a great sense of loneliness.
This year I HAVE missed deaths. I’ve missed my only chance to say goodbye to friends and family members. I HAVE missed births. I missed my best friends children growing up. I’ve missed my nephew growing up. I’ve had to rely on the internet to keep me in constant knowing of what is going on in the lives of those I left behind. I’ve had nightmares of family and friends telling me I’m selfish for leaving them. I’ve felt guilty in thinking about my future in that, maybe I won’t be close to what these people consider home.
There are so many feelings that I think I might burst some days. So many things that I feel I can never have the words to properly explain to these people to make them understand. I worry everyone sees this life as a vacation. That I’m doing something extraordinary. I’m really only trying to find a small place in this world like they are. There is nothing that sets me apart from them.
As I constantly find myself explaining to people from back home, this life, it’s so challenging. It’s hard. I’m alone. And I cry a lot. But when I type these words, there’s a strong piece of my mind and heart that says, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The hardship is what makes me feel like I’m gaining something even if so many days I tell myself, just give up.
Maybe this blogger doesn’t feel in all the ways that I do. But I think no matter what path you choose, you crave the opposite. If I chose to settle in one area, I’d feel I’m missing out on the world. If I got married and had kids, I’d miss the freedom of having no commitments. And in choosing this life, I lose the ability to believe in anything permanent. I lose certainty of having someone by my side. The certainty of knowing someone is always waiting for me. The changes in my family. The holidays. The smiles and laughs and tears.
And still I’m not sure what’s important. Living a life I know isn’t for me for the sake of those I love, or risk being called selfish for living in a way that maybe I can half ass stand a chance in.
But regardless; Every action has a consequence. Every gain has a loss. And it felt nice to see someone else write that down, that I felt moved to do the same.