One of the earliest memories I have is of visiting Tokyo as an 11-year-old back in the early 1980’s. At the time my father had taken on a job as an external consultant for a Japanese business with offices in Sydney. This involved moving the entire family from London to Sydney for two years. It was a happy time in my life, possibly the happiest of my childhood before the onset of my teenage years and the subsequent breakdown of my parents marriage which was both dramatic and damaging to all involved, both then and now. The journey to Japan back in the 1980’s was simply incredible. Such a beautiful and technology driven country.
As I mentioned in an earlier post here at www.jetroge.ch, I have been thinking for sometime that a change was necessary in my life. Whilst others looked at my career and lifestyle with some admiration, I’d come to the conclusion myself that this was simply a mirage. Yes, I had a good job and could be considered ‘successful’ when compared to my friends and peers. But, was I really happy? The answer I had come to when I posed this question to myself was NO. Something had to change.
And change it did. I’ll have to warn you that it wasn’t dramatic change, but it was change nonetheless. I’ve never really been one for taking a risk (which may well explain why my life to date has been so plain and ordinary). On the first Monday in July I made a request for a 12 month sabbatical. This wasn’t an unusual request at the bank that I worked at, particularly given the 9 years of service I already had under my belt. Within 2 weeks of the request I was told it was approved and that my position with the business would be held open until my return in a years time.
Once I had approval I did things. Firstly, I arranged for a friend to let my flat for 12 months, and secondly I booked a ticket to Japan. Within a week I was at Heathrow waiting for my flight to Tokyo, with nothing but a guide-book and the ambition to travel and enjoy life. For the first time in my life I felt alive. Japan, here I come.
And what a year I experienced. Japan proved to be everything that I could have wished for. From the bright lights of Tokyo, to the beauty of Kyoto, and the vibe of Osaka, I encountered a wonderful country with beautiful people. I even managed to pick up some Japanese on the way.
I came back a different person after my travels to Japan. I found it to be a very spiritual country, one which made me look at the beauty of things from outside to in. It made me look deeply at myself, my goals, the way I lived my life, and the direction I wanted it to go. It became clear to me on my journey through Japan that I needed to live my life for me, and not for those around me. Do what you love, and love what you do. Japan bought me clarity, understanding and compassion, and my life after my journey there would forever change.