🚆 The adventure of getting to the destination is part of the fun and makes the soul filled with Joy.
I’ve often wondered why I have such a strong desire to go around Japan’s enchanting landscapes. In some ways, the answer may appear obvious: Japan is without a doubt the most important destination on the planet. As a result, it’s only natural that I feel a strong feeling of pleasure when I begin on journeys around its many locations. However, as time passes, I am becoming increasingly certain that the sheer magnificence of Japan cannot fully account for my unwavering commitment to investing every hard-earned yen into my daring exploits.
These musings have taken me down a reflective path. Part of the fun of travelling for me is the epic journey to my destination. As someone who is constantly moving, I find inertia unbearable. In reality, I am most productive and inspired on unexpected travels onboard inconspicuous limited express trains destined for remote rural havens. While some individuals enjoy fine dining, there is an ineffable fascination to embarking on an adventurous adventure that speaks to the very core of my soul.
During the recent Golden Week festivities, this realisation struck me. As numerous Japanese, motivated by a sense of retribution after three years of pandemic-induced self-restraint, embarked on far-flung journeys, major tourist destinations across the country became overwhelmed with eager travellers. One particularly horrifying moment was captured in a viral video featuring Enoshima, hauntingly similar to the previous year’s deadly Halloween episode in Itaewon.
I made a conscious decision to withdraw to the quiet embrace of the Miura Peninsula in order to avoid sharing Japan’s treasures with swarms of fellow domestic tourists (not to mention the resurging influx of international visitors). With no clear goal or destination in mind, I accidentally found myself in Kurihama after a leisurely soak in an onsen, just as the sun began to set. I realised there was a ferry ride across Tokyo Bay to Nokogiriyama waiting for me, so I took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the sunset while cruising the waters.
However, I had mistakenly ignored the fact that this year’s Golden Week coincided with a period of high winds. This realisation meant that I was in for a wild and exciting adventure. To be honest, while everyone else on the ferry sought shelter from the raging waters within the limits of the vessel, I remained solid near the stern, relishing the tumultuous journey. And, lo and behold, in the midst of the turmoil, I witnessed one of the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever seen. Despite the battering and turbulence, it was a memory I would cherish for the rest of my life.
As I battled to keep my footing in the midst of the battling elements, one thing dominated my mind: the sheer exhilaration obtained from this humorous journey. I was being blown around by gale-force gusts in the middle of Tokyo Bay, yet the pure thrill pouring through my veins was unfathomable. Furthermore, I realised I wasn’t even going for a certain location. My only intention was to finish my piece about the wonders of Miyagi in a family restaurant on the opposite side of the bay before boarding a train back to Tokyo.
These thoughts caused me to consider if it is the individual destinations that pique my interest in travelling in Japan, or whether it is the complete journey that captures the genuine core of my wanderlust. Undeniably, the magnificent sights that I highlight on my blog are magnificent, and I do not intend to reduce their magnificence. However, it is the pilgrimage itself, the quest of these sites, that adds to their attractiveness. They say that the journey is the destination, and I totally agree.
Perhaps it is my unwavering will to investigate that lies at the heart of this enormous fascination. It would certainly explain why the prospect of returning home after an adventure makes me nervous. It’s possible that’s why I enjoy taking slow train rides on my way home, extending the adventure just a little bit more. Indeed, as I write these words, I am doing just that, savouring the complete experience of Japan through travel, which tugs at the very strings of my soul.
Is it just that I’m odd, that I’m restless all the time, or that I’ve succumbed to the tempting wanderlust bug? Why does the constant undertone of dread that pervades city life vanish the moment I step onto a train going for the countryside? I’m sincerely interested to know if other travellers feel the same way. Do you find it difficult to completely unwind until you’re travelling from place to place, appreciating the chance encounters?
I beg you, my fellow travellers, to educate me. Is it just me, or do others feel the ecstatic rush that comes with setting foot on the open road? If not, what has your personal journeying experience been like? Is it a tedious activity or a naturally delightful endeavour in and of itself? Your thoughts are extremely valuable to me, and I eagerly await your responses.
Until we embark on our next great adventure…