No matter how much I travel, and no matter how many times I've been to Japan – a country I'm getting to know and understand better with every journey - I still get a slightly uncomfortably 'light' feeling in my stomach as I'm gearing up for a trip.
It's not that I'm a nervous traveller or nervous flyer. But I get travel jitters weeks before the journey begins.
I don't know if many people get it or if it's just me. I can't believe it is.
It feels like a combination of excitement and anxiousness. The excitement is understandable. I've been thinking about what causes the latter.
I've always had a view that I want to be as content as possible. I've never had what I'd call extraordinarily grand desires, but I have had, and still have, ambition. A desire to pursue that contentment as much as possible.
It helps immensely if you have control over your circumstances and situation.
That's not easy to achieve.
Like most thing in life, I guess. But this year I'll have reached a few personal milestones. Ones that I set myself when I was in my 20s. It's feels special to be close to achieving them. But I can already feel a nervousness about setting new goals.
More than another 20 years later and I don't feel anywhere close to my age (well, mentally at least!). Not at all. In my head I am still a teenager (though thankfully without the angst!).
I guess the anxiousness before more travel stems from me being a bit of a control freak. I try not to be. But I can't help myself. The irony is that many of the most memorable, enjoyable and meaningful experiences I've had in Japan are the ones you don't and cannot plan.
You Can't Buy Moments Like This At A Travel Agent
Stumbling upon that achingly cute café in Takamori in the middle of the Aso caldera in Kyushu which happens to have a shiatsu treatment room in a shed in the back garden.
Eating in the restaurant in someone's private house surrounded by their inquisitive cats on the north coast of Okinawa. Playing like a child in the sculpture park of Moerenuma Park in Sapporo on the northern island paradise of Hokkaido.
You cannot buy these experiences, these moments, these memories at a travel agent. You have to allow them to happen. That can only happen if you allow yourself to loosen the reins, let chance wrestle control from your hands. Or at least my hands.
Learn To Relax and Embrace Uncertainty
If I could only learn to relax and embrace the uncertainty I'm sure I'd have less butterflies in the stomach. But having those reminds me I'm alive and that I need to make the most of my time on earth. That I need to keep setting goals. And that I need to keep having adventures in The Real Japan.
Do you ever get similar feelings? Let me know by sharing a comment at the foot of the page below...