“Adventure is out there!”
You might recognize that adage from a famous animated film. (Hint: a house with lots of balloons). My version of “out there” — that One Big Adventure I’ve been dreaming of since I was little — is the Land of the Rising Sun: Japan.
Adventure comes from a Latin word which means “about to happen”. Indeed, when embarking on an adventure, don’t your eyes just shine with all that’s yet to come? Doesn’t the air around you become electric with endless, wordless possibilities?
I set foot on Japanese soil in my mid-twenties. My happiness upon arrival at Kansai International Airport was palpable — it was a big, red balloon. This was it. This was the One Big Adventure I’ve been waiting for for fifteen years, and we have finally come face-to-face. My nerves were shot, to be honest.
I won’t go over the details of my trip, but suffice to say that if you’re going to travel, make sure that Japan is in your top three countries to visit. It ranks excellently in things you would look for in an adventure: will-blow-your-mind-good food, a diverse and nuanced culture, an efficient (but complex) transportation system, and a never-ending list of things to do.
It doesn’t matter what you’re into – nature, shopping, history, temples, gadgets, tea, anime, sports, entertainment, music, animals, coffee – there’s just so much in Japan for everybody provided you know what you want. Trust me, I stayed there for 10 days and did 95% of the things in my itinerary, yet I still feel like I need to return annually. (Pro-tip: Murin-An Garden in Kyoto. You’re welcome. Credits to Hiroko-san.)
So, let’s turn this over to you: What’s your “out there”?
Mind you, travelling to another country doesn’t equate to adventure. That’s a notion I have no wish to propagate, because the truth is, you could be living in your home country your whole life and still be living a grand adventure.
The nature of adventure involves not just “what’s about to happen”, it’s also a progression from “what’s already happened”. Adventure, therefore, moves in the present — something you are always creating moment by passing moment, with no need for a plane ticket.
Do you see? You are having little adventures right where you are – at this present moment – and one day soon it might take you places — whether it be Japan, a committed relationship, a family, a book you author, a new dog, a promotion, a career shift, a passion, or a new love.
Adventure also does not mean escape. Adventure is not a stand-alone episode in your otherwise humdrum season of life. Adventure is expansion of tilled territory. It is deeper discovery. You are in fact adding onto what you already have and what you already love.
So, in creating your adventure, here’s a key question to ask yourself: what do I love, and where is that love taking me?
There’s no need to adopt pre-conceived notions of what adventure looks like. I went to Japan not because it’s popular or that everyone in the Philippines seems to be going there. I went to Japan because I’ve always loved the place, and there was no reason to hold myself back from finally visiting it. If you stick to what you love and what’s good for your soul, adventure will naturally follow suit.
Ellie, in one of the most heart-breaking and heart-bolstering scenes in the movie UP, tells Carl: “Thanks for the adventure — now go have a new one!” She stuck to her love, and while it never took her to her childhood dream destination, she knew that adventure was not dependent on location — it was dependent on love. My deep prayer is that your love will lead you to an everlasting adventure, one that is out of this world.