Miles Away, Minutes Apart

14 Oct

There has never been a time more exciting than when I flew to Japan a couple years ago for a student exchange program.

I almost hate bringing it up since I talk about it so often. This one event happened over 3 years ago and I still can’t get it to leave my daily life.

That, in my opinion, is a wonderful problem to have. I discovered parts of myself there that I never knew before, and even three years later I am still in awe over the experience I had there. Not only was it life changing and gave me a new sense of understanding, but the actual experience led me to realize that is what I want to do with the rest of my life. Which is to travel the world teaching.

Trying something new and different was terrifying. I had never flown by myself and it was going to be the farthest I had ever been from home. At the time I NEVER ate Japanese cuisine (now I am addicted). I knew nothing about the language or the culture. And I was to be thrown in with just my wits for three weeks?

I am so immensely grateful that I was lucky enough to go since I had never really been pushed out of my comfort zone. I never knew what the world outside the U.S. could be like. That there were places in the world that held nature up to the standards of spirituality. I saw the beauty in everyday objects like cars, mirrors, chopsticks, and streets. I never once missed home. Which is a wonderful thing to experience, but I reckon even if I had, I would have still loved and appreciated every minute in Japan. I also think that being able to contact my parents at any moment via iPhone really gave me a sense of peace in leaving home. We may have been miles away, but we were only minutes apart.

And this very ability to talk to anyone around the world is why I believe everyone should travel if they can. You have nothing to lose!

Seeing the sun set in such a different way. See the way the wind blew plants I had never seen before. Eating food I couldn’t even fathom. All of this just because I decided to step on a plane and be transported to another world for a few weeks.

I learned so much about how diverse the world is, and about how similar human beings can be. So even if you are thousands of miles from home or just a couple, try and see the beauty and newness of your surroundings. Maybe you’ll discover something you had never seen before.

-Mandi

japan

A road near the house I stayed in, Himeji Japan

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