Homecooked meals in a stranger’s home, killer Japanese hornets, and sheer luck —all in a day’s accidental series of events.
Some go seeking adventure, but in the life of a “Type A,” nitpicking, goal-driven individual, letting life just happen is never easy. I would consider myself —and have been told time and time again—to be Type A. I’m restlessly pursuing a purpose-filled life, meticulously craft “To-Do” lists, always have an eye on the clock, and constantly think of ways to increase my efficiency through multitasking. Having too much time to relax is the definition of stress itself, because I know I could be bettering myself in other ways.
Meanwhile, Type B personalities approach life at a 180 º turn, often enjoying the simple joys in life, kicking back and relaxing. These Type A/B personality theories arose in the 50s, when a few doctors studied the correlation between personality type and risk for heart disease. Spoiler alert: My type is on the losing end.
If you’re also in this high-strung camp of zealous planners, arranging intricate trips abroad may be the bane of your existence. A necessary evil, however, if you’re a curious world traveler with a thirst to explore. Just as life sometimes inevitably slaps you on the face with the unexpected, Murphy’s Law, and little surprises are bound to pop up on travels.
In the end, though, you’re always glad the universe is there to push you to the edge to get a fresh breath of air.
It was during one humid, Japanese summer in the lush forested hills surrounding Hiroshima that adventure fell onto my lap. My best friend of 10 years and I decided an international adventure was long due in celebration of our college graduations. So where does anyone go when they’re looking for a confusing, safe, and absorbing expedition? That shrimped-shaped island cluster off Eastern Asia, naturally.
We carefully crafted our five-week journey from start to finish, including everything from “can’t miss” eateries to specialty museums that you find on the weird parts of the Internet. Much to our satisfaction and my sanity, everything ran smoothly until the first hiccup in the Excel sheet calendar arose.
The original plan was to visit a century old bath house on an island that had looked deceptively close on Google maps. After a bit of research the night before revealed the commute to be several hours long, involving hundreds of dollars in transportation alone, our shriveled post-grad wallets shrieked and we scrambled to change plans.
We had already spent a few days in Hiroshima, exhausting all the main sites and neighboring areas, so our creativity and last minute despair resulted in one of the strangest days I had experienced. After scanning websites, fliers, and forums, we decided on visiting an obscure glass museum in a neighboring village with virtually no English information available. After looking up the directions with public transport and the museum’s relative location, we set out the next morning with open minds.
The following is a condensed summary of the events that followed:
We forgot to take screenshots of the directions. No phone service or WiFi. Saved by great memory and luck.
Saw the museum from the bus and ran off. Museum was closed for the day. We were hungry.
Wandered through the one-street village in the direction of the train station hunting for food. Found a dinky, dark “restaurant” with a single table that doubled as the home’s personal kitchen. The woman inside was well over 90, alone, and happily served us, never questioning what two tall, awkward foreign women were doing out in the boonies.
Somehow found the train station after a very long walk.
Aimlessly wandered back in the city up a mountain in the outskirts. Found a nice temple with a scenic view to rest at.
Got chased off the mountain by a killer, bird-sized Japanese hornet.
After walking well over 10 miles in a day, we called it quits and passed out for the night.
Some words of wisdom: Take a day to dump all plans. Walk outside, keep walking, go somewhere new and just enjoy. Sometimes we need to let life happen without trying to micromanage every detail. The best adventures (and greatest stories) happen when you’re not expecting them, and that’s simply not something anyone can plan for!
By: Raquel Thoesen
I have more interests than I ever know what to do with, but at the moment I’ve settled down in Phoenix after a year-long stint teaching in Germany. When I’m not doing marketing and business development projects for a local peanut butter company, you can find me perfecting my German, brushing up on Japanese, or trying out the next big exercise craze.
I love greeting strangers on morning runs, petting dogs, and all things matcha.