I dreamt about traveling since my late-teens, I talked about traveling since my mid-twenties, and at 28 years old I finally did it. As the fireworks were exploding around me, bringing in the new year of 2016, I was telling myself that this was the year I would finally exit Australia.
I proceeded to spend the first month of the year figuring out where to go, a whole world of possibilities and experiences to be had. However I soon found out that making a decision was going to be more difficult than I thought, for all the good reasons.
The first country that popped up was Vietnam, it was cheap, had a lot to offer in terms of culture and is a popular choice for first-time backpackers. I pictured myself laughing with locals after attempting a strange cuisine, riding in the back of an ute to get to the next town, exploring the rice terraces…
What about Europe? I could visit a lot of countries in a small area, see major landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower, plus could even catch up with Tyral…
Come June and the planning wasn’t going too well, I still didn’t even have a passport and through my indecisiveness I missed the window to travel mid-year in my university break.
I finally got into gear, organised my passport and even made a decision on the location, Japan. I have always had a fascination with Japan, starting back with my love for Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, then karate, then the architecture.
I planned to leave mid-December and spend a month in Japan, celebrating Christmas and ringing in the new year in a new country excited me. Once university finished I approached my boss informing him I was ready to work full-time for 3 weeks before my trip only to be met with “We’re shutting up shop.” Crap, I didn’t have a job, what would a sensible person do? They would book flights a couple weeks earlier and just go of course.
I now only had a couple weeks to “plan”, I needed supplies such as a Lonely Planet book, adaptors for Japan’s outlets, a good bag and learn a few phrases.
Suddenly it was 3am on a Wednesday, and I was waiting for my Uber to come and take me to the airport. I was nervous, I was excited, I had no idea what I was doing. I made it to our layover with only a major stuff-up, which was not realising carry-on also had a weight limit. Whoops.
However after another 8-hour flight I landed in Osaka, and the first thing I see getting of the plane? A giant Pikachu! Here I was, it was 3am, I was in an entirely new country, I had my return ticket for early January, and I spent the first 4 hours trying to sleep in the airport.
The first night I decided to get a room in a hotel so I could sleep without issues, but sitting alone in this room I was overcome with some major homesickness. In reality I had no idea what I was doing and I questioned if I should just go back home.
Those feelings gradually decreased over the next couple days and looking back I think it was a good sign that I got homesick. It meant I was out of my comfort zone!
Fast-forward a few weeks and I had made my way around Japan, starting in Osaka, then spending a few days in Kyoto, then Kanazawa and finally Tokyo. After a poor planning mishap by myself I decided to change my flights and leave a few days before Christmas.
I was sitting in Narita airport, waiting for my flight, I was ready to leave, excited to get back home. I reflected on my trip and I was little bummed out, throughout this whole experience my life didn’t change. Reading blogs and watching travel videos I was promised that traveling would change my life, but sitting in the airport I felt like the same person. What gave?
It’s now been roughly seven months since getting back from my first trip, and while I didn’t notice it at the airport in Tokyo its apparent my life has changed.
Not in some “Oh my god I’m totally a different person now” kind of way, but realising there is a big world out there and I want to see it all. I changed in the sense that I want more out life, not more ‘things’, but rather more experiences, more stories, more adventures.
In these last seven months I’ve been on little micro-adventures around Victoria, I’ve gotten more into my photography and filming. I’ve flown to India and road-tripped from Melbourne to Uluru. Now I’m planning a south-east Asia adventure once I finish university.
Without a doubt, travel changed me.
Adventures by Anthony.