Japan 1 – To The Land of The Rising Sun

It was a cold morning in my hometown. I left with a heartfelt goodbye and boarded the coach on the way to London Heathrow airport. There was a chill in the air and the anxiety was creeping in. “What am I doing?” I questioned myself. “Am I really going to be doing this all on my own?”

There wasn’t anything to do to pass the time; it wasn’t worth scrolling through endless posts on Facebook at 6 o’clock in the morning. I had no messages about my departure as I decided to keep my plans to myself instead of plastering it all over my social media.

Only a handful of friends knew of my plans and have wished me luck beforehand. I had nothing left to say and everything to prove: that I can do it.

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FutureMe: A Letter To Myself From 2017

In 2017, I sent a letter to myself to receive a year later. Now it’s 2018 and I have received the letter from exactly one year ago. I used the website FutureMe (https://www.futureme.org/) which enables your letter to travel through time. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and motivate myself to make the most out of the next. It’s only been a year since I sent the last letter but somehow I surprise myself everytime I get a new letter with the thoughts that cross my mind from a year ago.

Here’s a letter delivered on the 7th February 2018:

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Year in Review 2017

It takes me a while to get into the mood to write about how I feel and reflect on the experiences of this year. I’m feeling calm and content as I begin writing this before the end of year. To begin, it’s been quite a year; I’m fortunate and grateful to have had so many opportunities and made many lifelong memories over the past twelve months.

Goals that I have set out last year and even in the year beforehand have been achieved. These include travelling solo to Japan, passing my driving test, and obtaining my level 1 certificate in coaching paddlesports and level 2 in powerboat handling. With these and many other goals completed, I want to challenge myself even further for next year.

Here’s a general breakdown of what I’ve been up to this year (feel free to visit the associated posts!):

[the featured image is of sunrise at Mount Fuji, Japan when boarding the overnight Sunrise Seto train between Takamatsu and Tokyo]

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Stockholm – Not Just a Trip Review

*opens Google Flights*

*book cheapest tickets*

Where did we head to? Stockholm. Not exactly the cheapest destination and I definitely learned the hard way when it came to cost. £10 for a sandwich – really?

These are the two main lessons I learned from spontaneously booking the cheapest flights: 1.) Check the daily backpacking cost and 2.) Check the weather. Not that these factors had a negative impact on the trip, but it’s just I wouldn’t have been so surprised if I knew what to expect.

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Life Changes: Earning, Learning and Travelling

A couple of months ago, shortly after I posted about booking my flights to Sweden, I started a degree apprenticeship at my full-time job which involves working towards an honours degree in Digital and Technology Solutions. I’m glad to be given the privilege to earn a degree alongside my full-time job – it’s a big step up from the last apprenticeship as this one now requires a 4-year commitment. As this part-time degree course allows me to study debt-free alongside my full-time role as an apprentice, it’s a win-win, but surely I have to compromise on something, right?

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Flights booked, Sweden here I come!

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with a friend at a coffee shop and talked about our apprenticeships and travels. I spoke about my experience in Japan and he couldn’t believe it was all planned independently and not by a travel agency or tour group. I also had the chance to reflect on my experience in solo travelling; I went on to explain more about the people I’ve met on the road and the benefits I’ve gained during my travels such as personal growth from getting out of my comfort zone.

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Solo Travel Japan – Hakone Gone Wrong

Spontaneous travel is a topic I’ve read a lot about and wrote about a few times on this blog. I had a few fair goes at putting this into practice when I was in Japan and here I am going to share a story of my experience of Hakone.

Tokyo overwhelmed me with its modern skyscrapers, Electric Town, and robots. Most of all, there were so much more people and it felt like a crowded place to be in. It was Golden Week and I did not know what to expect.

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Nagasaki: The Night View From Mount Inasa – Part 4

I still had some time to make my way to the observation deck where I’d see the night views of the city. A gentleman who I spoke to by one of the public baths told me about a shuttle bus that goes back to Nagasaki station. Not knowing this, I thanked him, got changed and asked the staff members at reception about it.

At first, I didn’t know how to explain it but there was a poster of a shuttle bus displayed at the entrance. I pointed at the poster and then at my wristwatch, to ask for the time of the next shuttle bus. A staff member looked at the poster and wrote down a time on a post-it note. The next bus was leaving in 5 minutes – I was very lucky to have known this.

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Nagasaki: The Onsen Experience – Part 3

After eating a delicious bowl of champon at the Ringer Hut, there was a lot more that I still planned to do today: finding an onsen and climbing a mountain.

However, what I didn’t know was that I had to climb up the same mountain twice; the onsen sits on top of one side of the mountain and observation platform for the Nagasaki night view is on the other. This means that I had a lot of walking to do for the rest of the day.

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Nagasaki: Modern-Day Life – Part 2

It was my second day in Nagasaki.

Having been to the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park the day before, I wanted to explore more of what Nagasaki has to offer.

After a well-deserved lie in, I had no set plan in mind with what I wanted to do today. Speaking with Marie, a German friend I made at the hostel, we arranged to climb up Mount Inasa together with, Rafael, her newlywed husband in the evening for its great views over the city – believed to be ranked as one of Japan’s best night views.

Our plan was to be at the summit at 18:00 to watch the sunset and the city lights turn on.

That’s the evening sorted, but what about during the day?

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