Jumping into Kyoto, Japan for month 4 of Remote Year with a brand new year has been incredibly refreshing! I found myself in a whole new continent, relying on a bike for transportation, and embracing a minimalist lifestyle. I tried many new Japanese foods and rituals, and I met a handful of inspiring people.
I was invited one Sunday by a fellow Remote to join them in visiting the studio and home of a Japanese artist named Daijiro Hama. There, we were greeted with warm hospitality, freshly brewed coffee, and mind expanding conversations. We all sat around a space heater in this artist’s tiny apartment discussing topics of minimalism, cultural art styles, and ways to live a mindful life. Daijiro introduced a Japanese phrase that I resonated so deeply with: “Ichigo Ichie.”
This profound phrase can be roughly translated to mean “one opportunity, one encounter.” It is essentially telling us to treasure every moment in our lives, for it will never happen again. How beautiful is that?
My decision and commitment to travel the world with Remote Year can ultimately be explained through this one phrase. In a way, it's the Japanese's way of saying YOLO Y'ALL. When the opportunity to travel presented itself exactly a year ago, I was at a crossroads in my life where I felt inspired to finally pursue my dreams. Was it easy? No. Has it been worth it so far? YES!
Life is such a magnificent thing, and to waste any part of it seems like such a disappointment. Everyday, I notice myself becoming more mindful of my surroundings, feelings, and senses. I spend my time living in the moment rather than feeling guilty about the past or anxious about the future. Traveling does that to you, but you have to be open and accepting to change. It's about letting go of the fear that holds you back from anything and everything; good or bad. It's about having trust that absolutely everything always works out one way or the other.
Yes, I could have possibly found my path toward mindfulness through other routes other than traveling with Remote Year. However, this program is special in that it fosters a balanced environment where you have opportunities to connect with locals, other travelers, and the people within your group, while still having plenty of room for freedom, solitude, and personal exploration.
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I believe every person you meet, book you read, movie you watch, song you hear, or place you visit happens during the appropriate season of your life. When something or someone enters into your life, embrace every moment of it. And when it's time for that something or someone to head in a separate direction, thank them and then set them free.
Life is incredibly short. So, go and do that thing you've always wanted to do! No more excuses. Seize the moment. You. Only. Live. Once. Ichigo inchie y'all!
Sending you all my love from Southeast Asia!