When I decided to take my first trip abroad, I didn’t choose a tour. I took a leap of faith to go to Australia on a solo trip for ten weeks. I wanted an adventure; chose a rural area so I wouldn’t meet other Japanese. To carefully avoid saying when it was, let’s just say it was before Expedia or TripAdvisor and even before the digital camera came out. Well, OK, it was many decades ago.
The photo was taken at an office in a sleepy little town on the Eastcoast of Australia; I somehow ended up working there as a temp mail/fax girl in exchange for free English lessons. I don’t know how it happened since I barely understood English back then (!). I was probably too bold to take the solo trip, but I wanted to see how far I could go, badly. All I can say is that I survived my adventure solely by people’s kindness. They were incredibly sweet and patient, walked me through every single step, including that I didn’t have to take my shoes off in the house (boy, that was new!).
Despite all of their help, I did struggle through my entire trip. I was also learning at full speed, and I loved the feeling. It was an uphill journey, but it helped me grasp a foreign culture and allowed me to see my home country with a fresh set of eyes. It taught me to be humble. Struggling doesn’t mean that you are failing; you are fighting to become a better version of you. My cold sweat, frustrations, — my struggle was also my growth.
Am I still as bold today as I was back then?
Am I still willing to grow?
The photo is a good reminder.