Pre-Departure Post

I think lots of travelers like to keep a journal, or blog when they leave their home country. Either to document their travels for themselves and family, or as a way to see how much they’ve changed as a person. I will be keeping a blog and posting videos every Friday to document my travels. However, I’ll also be keeping a analogue diary as well! I ordered a Voyageur Moleskine to jot down notes, and document my experience.

So, finally. Japan. I can’t believe it. My middle school self would be ecstatic right now if she saw her 23 year old self in a crystal ball, traveling to Japan. I didn’t have rich parents, and the town I grew up in had almost no opportunities. However, if you take control of your own life, and carve your own path, your dreams can ALWAYS be achieved. I know it sounds really cliche but trust what your heart tells you to do. I don’t think anybody who chooses to travel, or study abroad looks back on their life and says, “Man, I really wish I didn’t study abroad.” Or, “Wow, good thing I didn’t travel!” The Gilman Scholarship has truly made my dreams transform into what is now my reality. I planned this for years, moved into a studio so my husband and I could save money, worked my ass off to bring up my lackluster GPA so that I would qualify to study in Japan. You have the right to ask the universe for the things that make you happy, and then work towards your goal. And I mean WORK. To me it was simple, take advantage of every opportunity that comes along.

I’ll get off my blogging soapbox now, and explain a little about my trip!

I leave October 4th for a larger city, with an international airport. I fly to Japan from October 5th in the USA, and arrive in Japan on October 6th. I found out somebody that is going to my school will be on the same flight to Japan as me. What are the odds? This trip is a three day affair. It’s crazy how far away it is, but I think it’s the gypsy in me that loves that so much. Japan is quite literally on the other side of the world. I will be staying in a dorm room, provided by my school, alone. I don’t have the meal plan that I had hoped for, so food hunting will be a little adventure in and of itself! However, I have my own private bathroom and mini kitchen. I think the dorm I’m staying in is super close to the campus, so that is lucky! According to my research, they use Minna No Nihongo as their textbook and a kanji book created by the school. I packed last week, so I think I am pretty much set as far as that goes.

I’m pretty nervous about my placement test. It is the very next day and I heard there is an interview, ALL IN JAPANESE, so they can determine where to place me! YIKES! I’m sure my face will turn bright red when I fumble through and sound silly. However, that is what this trip is all about! Whilst I can read ok, my speaking is definitely horrible. I did have some Japanese exchange students say my accent is pretty good, but they were probably just being polite. Here’s to learning a lot, and making many mistakes.

As far as what you may come to expect from this blog, you will see the addition of MANY photographs and occasionally I’ll embed videos that I take. I want this blog to be visual. Of course, I will always be on the hunt for komorebi (the title of the blog). I am keeping this blog for my senior project, and the Gilman Scholarship as well. As I learn more and more Japanese, expect to see it added in as well. I want to practice using my camera in creative ways, and illustrating the scenes I discover around me.

So, everyone, thank you. Thank you for reading, watching, waiting, and supporting me on this journey. If I can reach one person, young and old, and convince them that they can achieve what they want in life, this blog will have been successful in my eyes. I’m sure there are many more things I could type right now, but I’m in a weird state of nervousness and anticipation. I’m sure once I’m in Japan, the words will come.

Feed your inner gypsy, listen, learn, and in the words of Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

I’ll see you on the other side,





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