Tag Archives: travel

Read: A Short Journal Entry on Friends

[This post –The Benefits of Discomfort spurred on my inspiration to write for today.]

The whole reason why I started this blog was to help remind myself why I’m living the life that I do. Once or twice a year, I start to falter in my conviction and second-guess my lifestyle choices. In fact, one of those times is occurring right now. I panic, I can’t sleep well at night, I feel anxious for no apparent reason. It’s usually coupled with a significant lack of money, which either spurs on my anxiety even further or is the main trigger to it. I usually accompany it with an intense desire to go shopping and purchase a whole new wardrobe- that feeling of needing to reinvent myself kicking in hard.

What saves me are my friends. I’m pretty sure I’d be on 1,000’s of different medications if I didn’t have friends. I think a lot, probably too much (hence the reason I can’t smoke weed- more thoughts and reduced ability to talk? No thanks). It begins with a choice, something I have to decide. My mind will start racing in a circle, going over the options and every possible outcome over, and over, and over until I’ve literally paced in a circle, picking the same three things up and setting them down again and again. The thing I’ve learned that saves me is an interaction with another person. As soon as I engage with someone, I’m free. My mind sits back, relaxes, and no longer cares about the 20 various hypothetical consequences of wearing shoes versus sandals to walk to the corner store.

My brain helps me out a lot, and all of the thinking it goes through has pushed me to do more in my life than I ever thought possible. But what’s really made my life possible are my friends. From inviting me out on trips, to finding a new drink at a bar to merely hanging out and pulling me out of my head- friends are the most important thing I’ve gained throughout my life. So, thanks friends. You’re awesome.

 

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A List: Things I’ve Done in my Car

  • Drove
  • Slept
  • Plucked my eyebrows
  • Done  my makeup
  • Gotten changed
  • Gotten changed for an interview
  • Gotten drunk
  • Rode shotgun
  • Broken up with someone
  • Gotten in an argument
  • Napped in the middle of a city
  • Napped on the side of the road
  • Fit nine people in six seats
  • Drove drunk
  • Off-roaded
  • Gotten stuck in snow
  • Poached wi-fi from a home improvement superstore
  • Written snowboarder articles
  • Blogged
  • Had coffee
  • Made a snowboard edit
  • Homework
  • Brushed my teeth
  • Laughed
  • Lost a tire
  • Made sandwiches
  • Called my Mom
  • Called my Dad
  • Texted while driving
  • Read
  • Made jewelry
  • Smoked
  • Made out
  • Driven a drunk friend home
  • Drawn
  • Taken photos
  • Gotten lost
  • Watched the sun set
  • Seen the sun rise
  • Made a plan
  • Thought about being old
  • Thought about about my grandparents
  • Had a heart-to-heart
  • Cried
  • Sewn
  • Painted my nails
  • Lived.

 

Reflection: Coming Back From Japan

I slept for the first two days after getting back to Salt Lake from Japan. Literally. Ok, I was up for a few hours in the afternoon and stayed up til about 3am each night, but I felt like I had the flu or something and had to sleep it off. Adjusting to being back home is a lot harder than adjusting to a new place. My friend Andy said he usually gets his culture shock when he returns to the states from Japan rather when he first gets out to the foreign country. I have to agree with him there; Japan is totally different and definitely has a distinct culture we don’t have here in the states, but it’s all fascinating. I’m enthralled the whole time observing how people live their daily lives over there. But because my brain is curious and looking at EVERYTHING the entire month of being there, when I got back to something familiar it just had to shut down. When I was awake and walking around again back here in the states, it was as if I was seeing everything around me for the first time again. Shopping was a new experience once again because my eyes looked at packaging and ads as if they had to decifer them. I was looking at EVERYTHING here, as I had in Japan. It was kind of cool actually. I gained a new perspective not only on a foreign culture that I’d never had a true glimpse into, but also found a new way to look at everything that was familiar to me at home as well. It’s also nice to feel like I’m not in danger of getting horribly lost all the time if I’m on my own, and that store clerks understand exactly what I say to them and they respond back to me in perfect english (well, culturally perfect anyway).

Made it back just in time for Spring; my favorite!
Made it back just in time for Spring; my favorite!

Getting Japan

I don’t know that it’s been a full 24 hours yet since I left Utah (I’m confused on how the time zones are fitting together. Sorry), but already I’ve been having the best time ever. Everything over here is so new and different to me that even the small things are exciting. When was the last time you got excited when you walked by a soda machine?

Free Breakfast and coffee. Yes.
Free Breakfast and coffee. Yes.
ADORABLE DONUTS
ADORABLE DONUTS

The highlights so far have to do with food. They fed us so much on my flight from LAX to Tokyo, it was like some kind of airline miracle. Then I had a “double check what you’re buying because every label is in Japanaese and what you think is a soda could be an alcoholic grapefruit drink” lesson in the Tokyo airport and slept through my flight to Sapporo to land safely in Chitose.

Next came what I was afraid would be a big hiccup- everyone I’m doing this trip with originally had a flight that would have put them in Sapporo ahead of me by several hours, so I was planning on meeting up with them and didn’t make a plan otherwise. I found out a day or so ago that their flight changed and I actually was going to have about a ful day of waiting before they landed in Japan to meet up with me.

So, it’s 9pm, all the hostels are closed, the currency exchange is closed and I have a giant board bag and not too much of a clue. I did almost get confused for some snowboard chick named Maui(?) and joined another snowboard crew, but they kind of realized I wasn’t the person they were looking for after all.

Luckily, there was a super nice information lady who spoke english, and after many failed attempts at finding a hotel she finally told me there was a place in the same building four floors up that had a ‘relaxation room’ where you could spend the night. I set off right away and was just so stoked that I didn’t have to take the train to some hotel that would still let me check in so late.

I stayed at a spa. It was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to an actual spa in the states, but I have to say I don’t know how I got so lucky to find a Japanese bathhouse that was only 3,000yen for the night in an airport. Or maybe this is something really common and average in Japan. I don’t know yet!

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Yukatas!
I'm almost Japanese.
I’m almost Japanese.

When you check in they ask you to choose a yukata; #1-8. I picked #3 and they handed me a bag with two towels, yukata #3, and checked my two luggage bags for me. I found my locker and then realized the area the locker room lead in to- a community bath; ie; nude hot tub area with sitting-shower partitions. I had to walk around the building a few times before I got myself to go into the locker room, strip down and walk into this community bath where I don’t know any of the general ettiquite. Do you look at the other people? Do you avoid all eye contact? Do people fully shower at this crazy shower-head stooled station? What do I do with this wooden bucket? What about this round plastic brush thing? Is that for your feet? Which one of these bottles is the shampoo???

I rinsed off, got in the water and was instantly more relaxed. It was the best thing ever. I watched the other ladies that came and went to see what they were using all of the things for. That plastic scrubber-thing; not for your feet. It’s like a scalp massager when you’re shampooing (from what I gathered) and it feels AWESOME (I took one more to use later on this trip). Also, yes; you do fully shower yourself while perched on a very low wooden stool. I think I mistakenly used the body soap for shampoo, but it pretty much does the same thing so who cares.

The lobby
The lobby

After trying out each of the four hot baths and then getting re-dressed I bought some weird crackers (they had the stickiest sugar between them, I couldn’t eat it, but it was funny to try) and relaxed for a while listening to a burbling water fountain made of a stone vase. I still can’t believe I’m in Japan. My trip has hardly gotten underway and it’s already more fun than I expected. And so far I haven’t left the airport. I can only imagine it’ll get better when I start doing things like, say, snowboarding.

Ohayo

A lady about my age sat down in the window seat next to mine on the tiny jet that was flying from SLC to LAX. She was dressed up, make-uped, in a skirt and carrying a giant fluffy pillow and tan jangly hand bag. A really friendly person, we started chatting about where we were each headed. She was a Mormon girl from Arizona on her Mission, going from Temple Square to a place in california for about four months. I told her I was headed to Sapporo, Japan to snowboard.

“I love snowboarding! But, isn’t Japan kind of far to go to snowboard?”

Sometimes I forget that not everyone in the world is living the same lifestyle as myself and my friends. When I told people I know that I was getting to snowboard in Japan they usually responded with, “Dream Trip!”, “I’m so jealous!”, “Go slash some Japan Pow, you’re so lucky!” (“take a radiation suit”).That’s the same kind of mindset we’re all in. We know Japan has amazing snow, we all believe it’s a crazy fun place to visit and we all love to travel for the sake of traveling. What we forget (like I did) is that there is a whole other world (er, worlds, rather) that think we are, basically, a little crazy.

I’m ok with that.

Going from having this trip be a possible notion, to purchasing my ticket, to waking up at 3am this morning with my sister Rachel and Tyler to drive to the SLC airport to waiting here in LAX to board a plane to Tokyo… it’s kind of a whirlwind. It still hasn’t settled in. Though I keep getting reminded of where I’m about to dive into by all the people speaking Japanese around me in the terminal. The only thing I can really understand out of what they’re saying is, “Thank you”. I guess that’s not a bad phrase to know. I could just thank everyone I met in Japan. I’m going to be this American running around with a giant snowboard bag shouting, “Thank You! Thank You!” at everyone for no particular reason. I think it’ll go really well. I may have trouble actually getting  help with anything but at least they’ll find me polite.

Right now I’m a mix of excited and nervous. This is going to be my first international flight, and I have to sit relatively still for 11 1/2 hours in a middle chair of economy seating. I’m really hoping by some miracle they just HAVE to upgrade me to business or first class, though that does seem a little unlikely.

I’ll be posting as often as possible on here and everywhere else I can while I’m over there. I’ve been told the wifi is plentiful in Japan.

And now, for the next two and half hours before my flight I believe I may go find a place that serves mimosas and prepare myself to (inevitably) find I’ve been seated in the middle chair between two overly-large individuals and they’ll both fall asleep and drool/snore on me as I try to learn a few more words of japanese before I land in Tokyo.

Arigato!

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[No Title]

Hey all you creative awesome people! I hope that you’ve been doing great; some of you I’ve talked to recently, some of you (sadly) I don’t know what’s new in your life. But, hopefully that will change soon!

The last couple of years I’ve been thinking about my life and how it compares to what the ‘norm’ is for someone my age in the US, and sometimes I get freaked out. What am I doing? Traveling? Snowboarding? Working minimum wage jobs and moving every six months? Barely making it paycheck to paycheck? Occasionally putting groceries on my credit card I still really really need to pay off fully?

And then I talk to people outside of my regular life, outside of my circle of friends, and when I tell them what I do they always say something along the lines of, “You are so lucky! Do that as long as you can.”

Ultimately I come back to this: How I’m living my life is not within the average, but it’s because I have that little bit of drive to live differently that I can love my life and make what I love work in my life.

Ok, so what’s the point of this? For a while, I’ve also been thinking about how lucky I am to know so many amazing people who also have decided to live in a way that trends away from the average. I’ve thought about how you all have awesome stories that you share with me, and how fantastic it would be to get them all together in one place to share with a bunch more people.

I’m not a blog genious (yet. Just like I’m not a helicopter pilot…yet.) so I’m currently working off of a wordpress template, but I did put something together using that and I’ve decided to call it ‘GOFER’.  Gophers are really cute, and when I googled ‘gopher’ I found this awesome Wikipedia entry-

“Gophers, because of their burrowing, can disrupt human plans like commercial agriculture, garden plots, some landscaping, and some underground cables.”

It then continued on to say this, which I just thought was funny (and educational!)-

“Gophers are generally timid but may attack if provoked. If deprived of their normal vegetarian food supply, gophers have been known to resort to cannibalism.”

Gophers disrupt what people are trying to do. Rad! They dig around and operate in communities. Also, they’re vegetarian! (The cannibalism part was something I couldn’t find a connection to…)

Anyway; here’s my point- I want to make this happen. The whole backbone of this ‘collective blog’ would be each of you; my friends who are going out and making things happen. Each person would post entries a time or two a week and together it would create this fascinating collage of people doing rad shit. It would give us all a connection of inspiration too (I hope). You don’t all do the same things (some of you are super driven about similar stuff) but it’s all a bit different and each person offers their own perspective on it all.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all stay tuned and follow the stories that come out of this collective.

Thompson Pass, AK March 2013
Thompson Pass, AK March 2013