So here’s the deal. I’m super Type A. I love to plan ahead. I don’t love surprises (unless I’m throwing someone else a surprise party!). So I was as surprised as anyone when, out of the blue, I booked a trip to Japan for 10 days.
I lived in Tokyo for 7.5 years when I was growing up. My family moved back to the United States permanently in 2000, and I haven’t been back to Japan since. I have such fond memories, and have always wanted to return, but didn’t think it would happen any time soon. Flights are so insanely expensive, and to really do a trip like that justice, I knew I’d need to go for more than a week.
Cut to last Sunday. My sweet friend Irene saw that flights from DC to Tokyo were $500 roundtrip! We spent about 30 seconds going back and forth, but decided it was too good to pass up. Ten minutes later, and we’d booked a 1o day long trip to Japan for Easter. I know. So not me!
I’ve never done anything like this in my life, but now seemed like the right time. I have vacation time saved up and a boss that will let me use it, a free place to stay with family friends, and I’m young and fancy free with a tax refund burning a hole in my pocket. I know that taking a trip like this is not a luxury that most people have, and I’m so grateful to be able to do it.
As I’ve told people about my trip over the last couple of days, they’ve been flabbergasted. Taking an unplanned trip to the other side of the planet seems to be the last thing anyone would have expected me to do. And here’s the interesting thing – I’m almost as pleased to be surprising people (and myself) as I am to be going on this trip. I love subverting people’s expectations, and seeing them look at me differently. And I’m proud of myself for doing something kind of reckless that will be just plain fun.
I own the fact that I’m Type A. And that I like to plan every moment of my life. But there’s another part of me that loves wandering out into the great unknown and figuring out the details later. I’m excited to get back in touch with her a little! To be honest, this is probably the easiest way to practice taking risks. I’m traveling to a place that I already know and staying with friends. And Japan is a country that places a premium on rules, order, and safety, so, after this initial burst of spontaneity, I can count on being able to plan out every other part of this trip from start to finish with very few surprises. Maybe someday I’ll go crazy and head out into the world without a 20 page itinerary and mile long packing list, but baby steps, y’all.
Also, how lucky am I to have a friend like Irene to inspire and encourage this insanity? I’m really looking forward to putting our friendship to the test by spending every waking moment together for ten days. We are already proving to be incredibly compatible travel buddies.
Stay tuned for so much more on this, and be sure to subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Comment, email me, or reach out on social media (@hopefulhanna) if you have tips on how to pack light for a long trip, Japan suggestions, or if you have your own spontaneous travel stories to tell! I’d love to hear them.