Travel Blog – Japan Itinerary Update, Final Draft

Late last year, I posted an itinerary for my trip to Japan on my blog. I thought it might be time to give an update, now that time is quickly drawing close for me to head out.

Things have been rearranged slightly in order to accommodate a climb of Mount Fuji to watch the sunrise from the top. On top of my itinerary, I’m wanting to leave you with a list of things I’ll be wanting to do while I’m in Japan.  I have it planned out so that I know what cities I’ll be in on which days, but I don’t have specific days planned out in order to be a little more flexible and give myself the ability to adjust based on how tired I am on those days.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

I’ve built a kind of guide map on google maps which I will be using to pick out places I want to visit while in the field in August. I’ve got locations colour coded based on how easy I think it will be to visit certain places in the same day. You can find the link to my map here.

The idea behind this is to be as transparent as possible during the planning stage of this, to show what I’ve done and how I’ve done it in hopes of learning from my own experiences while giving others the ability to offer input on my methods of madness.

Digital Nomadry

Outdoor Office

My Itinerary for Destination Japan: August 14th to August 31st 2018:

August 14th to 15th:
Fly day. I fly from Edmonton to Denver to Narita Airport in Tokyo. I land in Tokyo at 1530 local time.

August 15th to 20th:
Tokyo

August 20th to 21st:
Osaka

August 21st to 23rd:
Hiroshima

August 23rd to 27th:
Mishima (Base of Mount Fuji)

August 27th to 28th
Ito Onsen

August 28th to 31:
Tokyo

August 31:
I fly from Narita airport in Tokyo to San Jose to Denver to Edmonton. Fly day. I land in Edmonton around 2300.

 

 

Converting Money: My experience

I did a thing on May 7th. If you follow me on my personal social media pages, you’d have seen me proudly post a picture of some currency I had converted. I did this three months before I leave for a couple reasons.

  • I just couldn’t wait to have it in my hands.
    • This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
    • I can now say I’ve held my first ACTUAL foreign currency
  • It was a way for me to stop myself from spending it
    • I don’t actually trust myself not to spend the money I have in Canadian currency while it’s in my bank account.

I have a habit of saying “Oh, there’s lots of money in my account. It won’t matter if I spend a bit. I’ll make it up later” and then later arrives and I can’t figure out how I got so carried away. It’s something I’ve tried to hold myself accountable with, and it’s been to no avail. In order to nip this in the bud for Japan, to make sure that I have enough yen (JPY) to make this trip comfortably, I decided that I wasn’t going to risk it. I went and got the bulk of my money converted so it’ll take extra effort to actually go spend it, and I’m counting on my lazy nature to prevent that. I call this being proactive.

All said and done, I walked into the bank with CAD $1,400 in my bank account. It cost me CAD $1,429.71 and I walked out with JPY 117,000. As of May 7th, 1 Canadian Dollar was worth roughly 84 Japanese Yen. Combined with the JPY 30,000 I’d picked up previously, this makes a total of JPY 147,000 total that I immediately when home and stuck in my travel wallet along with my passport.

I’d like to show you what this looks like.

147000 JPY

Overall this really doesn’t seem like a lot of money when laid out.

I’ve got several 10,000 notes, a few 5,000 notes, and a 2,000 note. According to those who I’ve been talking to in various travel groups I belong to on social media, as well as friends of mine who’ve gone before me, the 2000 note is an uncommon form of currency.  The closest resemblance to one of our bills as far as value is a $20 bill, but for some reason, they never actually caught on in Japan. I’m going to see if I can get my hands on a couple more and I’m going to see about starting a “foreign currency” collection.

Anth398 planning, Japan and Social Media integration

Digital Nomadry
Digital Nomadry

Epic Office Views.

I’m sitting at a Starbucks on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton Alberta as I write this. I’ve kind of taken to writing outdoors, so long as I’ve got a fully charged laptop. I enjoy the fresh air and people watching while I think about that next sentence that I’m going to write. I’m sipping on a Venti black tea pineapple infusion lemonade with no sweetener and my mind is racing. No, it’s not because of the drink, but more because I just got out of a meeting for my independent study which I will be undertaking in July/August of this year. I’m probably going to set this to release for my next slotted Wednesday blog update so I can keep with my weekly blog updates, after all, part of my grades will be on my blog and social media interaction.

I’m really excited for this, as the person I consider a mentor is walking through this bit of my education with me and guiding me as I learn about gender in Japan from both a brief historical outlook, as well as a rather hands-on contemporary perspective. There’s going to be a lot of amazing things come out of this, both research-wise and experience-wise. I have a feeling I’m going to rock this study, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I approached my mentor about it pretty much a year ago.

I don’t want to go too much into detail until I get official permission from my mentor about what’s going to be happening with this course, but I’ll divulge this: My social media usage is going to explode. I’ll be on the ground in Japan every day doing everything from live video feed to providing pictures and commentary on things that I find, what I’m doing, the plans for my day, and I’m even going to be making a video for the final project that sums up everything that I’ve covered in readings and discussions. Everything I’ve gone through; all the heartache, all the setbacks over the last year, all the hard lessons learned and all the iron will and determination has been leading me to this point.

Learning is a life-long process which never really ends, and for me, knowledge and education is at the very core of my being, I just need to learn to do it in a way that works for me. I find I’m a lot happier if I’m gathering knowledge on my own with someone to guide me through the process, not stuck in a stuffy classroom.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’ll be leaving on August 14th and coming back on the 31st, but this will be an ongoing process over the next few months, and you’ll be able to follow me on Instagram as well as Twitter using the hashtag #Anth398. Of course, I will also be updating the blog and the Facebook page will be instrumental for video updates I will be planning to go back someday, as I’m completely enamoured with Japanese culture and life. This is something I was born to do. This is something my heart yearns for. This is what I will continue to do, most likely, once I get my first real taste of “work”.

Odd thought: Due to the nature of this project, I’m very heavily considering the title of “Anthropology Journalist.” I don’t really see anyone using this kind of title or job description, but that’s essentially what I’m setting myself up to do. I’m training to me a journalist with a very heavy background in anthropology. It just kind of fits, and I like it.

I’m going to set up things here at Blazewing.ca and start tagging them as Anth398 for relevant posts so they are all in one nice, easily trackable location as well.

Until my next update: See you on the trails!

-Blazewing

My Day to Day Life: Figuring Out What A Digital Nomad Actually Is.

Considering becoming a Digital Nomad is a huge step.

Our species is on the cusp of something amazing. We are on the cusp of being able to integrate technology, culture, and biology into one seamless, unique person, but we are stuck in the old ways. We are still in the mindset of “I need a stable 9-5 job in order to be successful” when in reality, with the invention of things like computers and the internet, our success can literally be what we make it. This scares some people. It is human nature to stick to what we know, and stay inside the comfort zone. We don’t like change; we do our best to resist it at all costs, but every once in a while, someone is born who destroys these stereotypes. We call these people several things: Crazy, trailblazers, unique, or social rejects. They don’t conform to what we consider the norm, so we tend to ostracize.

I want to document the entire experience, so someday when I’m older I can have something to look back on and say “Yep, I did that. It was amazing.” I also want to have a rather comprehensive guide to the steps I took to get where I will eventually be so I can help guide someone else who was in the same spot as me. I don’t want to use the word “mentor”, but that’s essentially what I mean.

 

I’ve been having some trouble figuring out where I belong in the world of online work.

I’ve been thinking social media marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but I’ve got a lot to learn as these fields are always changing, always growing. There is a lot to learn, and it’s never the same from one moment to another.

I have this dream of actually being out in the world while working. You know the deal: Earning an income from various locations around the world, completely dependant on the laptop for work instead of rooted down to one place of employment. They call it being a Digital Nomad, and what it really boils down to is being a freelancer who generates their own clients and their own work while specializing in a certain aspect of online life.

This blog post was created to show where I am in the process of converting solely to laptop work. Right now: I’m looking at options and weighing choices in order to figure out where I need to be, and in some cases, I’m checking out certain websites for actual work. Hey, I’ve gotta start somewhere, right? If I’m going to do this, I need to build experience and I need a portfolio. Who knows, by the time I’m done school, I may be ready to strike it out on my own, and I’ll be able to put some of my school work into my portfolio.

The freedom of being a digital nomad is extremely alluring but has some pitfalls.

Being able to make your own hours, decide where you want to do that day’s work, and deciding where you want to spend the next few months. On top of that, there’s also the fact that you need to be extremely self-motivated and you need to be able to keep up on tasks. The ability to multitask and schedule is extremely important.

You need to be able to deliver what you say you are going to. To put it in old-fashioned language: “Your word is your bond”. If you say you’re going to do something, you need to be able to deliver, or no one will be willing to work with you.

You need to have the ability to be financially responsible. This is something I’m working very hard on. For most of my life, I’ve had a spending problem, but thanks to the influence of one of my partners, I’m slowly gaining the ability to set money aside and not spend it unless I need to. I’m slowly digging myself out of debt, and I couldn’t be happier with the results thus far. Over the next year or so, I’m going to attempt to start tracking my finances in an effort to find out exactly where I stand.

On the Road

Why pursue this avenue?

As I mentioned in another post, I have an insatiable need to travel. For me, home is generally on the road. I feel happiest when I’m traveling, and I feel that unless I try to see as much as I can, I’m going to leave this life fairly unhappy. For me, digital nomadry just makes sense.

But that’s not all there is to it. I’m a trailblazer.

Years from now, if someone comes to me for advice and guidance on how to get started, I want to leave a solid breadcrumb trail for them to follow. Conventional life isn’t for everyone, and seeing as our society is essentially a biotechnological species, this path only seems natural. I want to be able to draw someone a roadmap so that when they go out into the world, they have some idea of what to expect.

Welcome to the inside of my head. It’s confusing as hell, but I feel like these blog posts will be able to help me straighten things out and figure out who I am, where I want to go and what I want to do.

Until next time:
See you on the trails.

Outside of My Comfort Zone: I Entered a Contest.

Road trip of a lifetime!

On the Road

I did something uncharacteristic for me. I took a huge step and started the process to step outside of my comfort zone back at the end of March. During my research into jobs and careers as a Digital Nomad that sparked my interest, I stumbled on a website called World Nomads. The site offers a connection for nomads all across the world. It offers experience, resources, a way to communicate, options to purchase travel insurance, and a whole array of other services for a nomad in today’s age.

What originally drew me to World Nomads was the contest that was splashed across their front page. Entries closed as of April 10th, and winners will be announced on May 1st. The contest is for a 4-week road trip for two across wither the United States or Europe. Included are the following items:

  • Free round-trip flights for both individuals
  • Travel insurance for both individuals
  • Camper van rental
  • Itinerary planning
  • $2500 in awesome travel gear
  • USD $6,000 spending money for the adventure.

This was just too good to not throw my name into the bucket as an aspiring digital nomad, and I have the perfect time to go. At the moment, the month of July isn’t booked for anything in particular.

The month of April has been filled with much anticipation for me while I wait for judging and the results to be announced. If my name is pulled, 2018 could theoretically be the best year on record for me, and could serve as the year when I finally take my career as a social media entrepreneur into my own hands; you pretty much know I’ll be documenting the entire experience through the blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me as I eagerly await the results of this, and if it happens that my name is pulled, prepare for a whirlwind of new content, adventures, and opportunities coming at you in less time than it takes to blink.

Until next time:
See you on the trails!