50 Days Until Japan!

Hi, everyone! Today marks 50 days until I head over to Japan. Most of the preparation has been done, however, I haven’t really done any preparation at all – and I’m not exaggerating. Since I booked my flights in the beginning of the year, I have figured out my itinerary, reserved my accommodation, bought a phrasebook, joined a travel forum and researched some travel tips and what to do in Japan. That’s pretty much it.

All that’s left to do is buy a 21-day Japan Rail Pass, sort out finances (I’ll make a post on how I will manage this in Japan), and research more as much as I can so I know exactly what to do  and where to go to get to my first destination when I reach Japan.
The first steps when I get into the country is going to be very difficult. This is because for some silly reason in an attempt to save time, I will be landing at Haneda Airport and will need to buy a data SIM card, exchange my JR voucher for the pass, obtain cash from an ATM, buy food, and take a bullet train to Nagoya to my hostel accommodation.

Note: I nearly confused Nagoya with Nagano! Nearly made this mistake when booking accommodation as it would have seriously affected my itinerary route…

I haven’t considered the state that I’ll be in after a 17-hour journey from LHR (England)-CDG (France) -HND (Tokyo), so I will probably be very jetlagged and will be diving into the deep end – meaning it’s either sink or swim to my first night’s accommodation.

It’s going to be a challenge and I won’t know for myself until I get there. I’ll let the spontaneity take charge of the trip from then on as I’m sure it’ll make for a good story.

I have kept quiet about my travel plans to Japan until recently; there haven’t been any Facebook posts on this but I have been telling my close friends and work colleagues about this. Some are avid travellers and some are not and it’s fascinating to see where their interests lie. One of my colleagues recently came back from Japan and he spent 3 months exploring the country. He has been really helpful and provided lots of advice about the Suica card, Hyperdia app and places that he recommends visiting such as Yokohama and Sendai. I’ll take any recommendation into consideration and be willing to be more flexible with taking day trips to these places. For example, I’m still undecided on my day trips when I reach Tokyo during Golden Week. I could go to Nikko, Kamakura, Yokohama, Hakone or another place, but I can’t go everywhere. I’ll have to see how I am on the day to see what I am interested in doing. Please do keep letting me know of your tips on any aspect of travel, whether it’s about Japan, backpacking, solo travel or travel in general.

Another friend went to Vietnam last year with his brother and gave me tips and recommendations on tours. There’s a range of tours available for any day/multi-day packages from Intrepid Travels, G Adventures, Contiki or other tour providers, etc. Although they can be expensive, I’ll learn a lot more than if I were to go on my own, so I will definitely take his advice into consideration.

I’ve received reactions and responses from all sorts of people I’ve told about my travel plans such as:

  • “You’re going alone? You’re brave”
  • “You’re really going alone? Won’t you be lonely?”
  • “That’s so cool. I wish I had the time/money to do that”
  • “Why aren’t you going with your friends?”
  • “Hmph, why are you going alone?”
  • “You should go. You’ll definitely learn to find yourself”

There have been mixed responses but they have mostly been positive and supportive. Some people were surprised that I, a 19-year old, am going on this adventure and wish they had the opportunities to do so when they were my age. I’ve even helped influence friends to pursue their own adventures! One friend has quit his part-time job to go backpacking in South East Asia and a work colleague has booked long weekends off to Norway and Spain with his girlfriend. I’m glad that by expressing my desire to travel has led to friends being inspired to find their own adventures.

Hopefully, this will be the start of many and I do also hope my career would still influence my desire for travel although I will have more responsibilities when I do progress in it.

Slow travel to a few places a year is one of my goals; after Japan, there will be plans to visit family in the Philippines, trek in the Himalayas, explore ruins in South America, and continue to travel through Europe and South and Eastern Asia.

Planning has been a huge part of this journey already so I personally do thank you for following my on my adventures and I hope you look forward to what is to come.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

-RGS

Another note: If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve changed up my blogging site to make it more appealing. Please let me know your thoughts and what else I could add to make it even better.

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