Wait… what?! Holy crap! Where did my time go? I want my time back! I stopped ripping pages out of my word-a-day calendar to stop time, but apparently, my tactics have failed entirely. The day for heading off to Japan has finally arrived, and I find myself… well, for lack of a better term… scared shitless.
And excited. Very excited. But scared nonetheless. Because change simply does that to me. I know I’m not just entering a new culture. I’m getting ready to change as a person. I don’t feel ready. I don’t believe you should ever feel ready. Nonetheless, my time has come, and I prepare to fly westward with an open mind.
Because of my sudden panic, I overlooked eating anything more than an apple for dinner. I have started my mass water intake and am actually feeling drowsy despite my lingering nervousness/excitement.
I spent most of the day wrapping up last-minute packing things. I had my friend Melissa along to help and bought her lunch. Cue tips for packing:
- Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you start packing. It really sucks to find out that you forgot toothpaste at the last minute. Making lists is a good way to avoid this.
- Find a packing buddy. If someone else is going with you, it’s nice to have moral support and a helping hand so when you set things down and have a lapse of short-term memory, you have one less thing to have a heart attack about. This is also handy for tip number 3.
- Make an itemized list of everything in each bag. I put these lists in each of the bags, but you could also make one master list and keep it in your carry-on. It doesn’t have to be anything super-specific, but I feel this will help reduce the stress once I land in Japan. I won’t have to rummage through bags to find things because I’ll already know what’s in them.
- Put everything in one suitcase first, then divide the full weight between two bags. I did this because I plan on buying some souvenirs, and I wanted some extra luggage space in case I can’t ship them home. Of course, you can pack your carry on and personal item first, but I wanted to make sure I had enough room to pack some things I buy there. When I did this, I learned I had a heck of a lot more room than I thought I did and was actually able to pack some extra things.
- Finally, remember to keep calm. Moving to Japan (or really, going on any long trip) can be stressful, but keeping a positive mindset and trying not to go totally postal will make the experience even more enjoyable than it’s already going to be. You can avoid this by keeping in mind the things that keep you calm. For me, that happens to be writing fiction, reading books, and listening to music, so I plan to spend most of my plane ride doing those things… oh, and sleeping of course. ^_^
It is really hard to say good-bye to everyone in the States. Still, I take comfort in knowing that the internet will connect us… sometimes… and that my friends have awesome things going on in their lives, too… new boyfriends, pregnancies, marriages, moving out, new jobs, new degrees… I take solace in knowing that everyone has a door they need to walk through, and that even though mine is on the far side of the world, we’re still walking together, pursuing our own dreams.
I want to close this entry with a line of poetry that brings me great hope. Although I profess I dislike much American Literature, I do enjoy a Finnish symphonic metal band called Nightwish, and they actually quoted this line in their song “Song of Myself.” I later found out it originated from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and find myself delighted at the direct allusion. May it bring you the joy and reassurance that it has brought me:
I want to travel where life travels,
Following it’s permanent lead.
Where the air tastes like snow music,
Where grass smells like fresh-born Eden,
I would pass no man, no stranger, no tragedy or rapture,
I would bathe in a world of sensation,
Love, goodness and simplicity.