Monday, 17 March 2014

I Must See It All, Mustn't I?

Good Day Everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend? 

As we’re getting closer to our Japan trip, I spent quite a bit of time this weekend researching the cities that we are visiting as well as things to do / see whilst there. In my head, I’ve sort of built this trip up to be a holiday of a lifetime. I have always wanted to go to Japan and even though we’ve been living in Singapore for almost three years, it’s only now that we are getting round to going. Also, I kind of see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity because in all honesty its highly unlikely that we would go back to Japan simply because there are so many other amazing places that we want to visit… although I would absolutely love to visit Japan in the fall / autumn to see the leaves change colour :o)

I have always loved travelling and exploring new places. There’s something very exciting and stimulating about seeing new / different things. I find travelling very invigorating for my mind and soul - it makes me feel alive… like I’m truly living rather than merely existing. For me, there’s a big difference between the two… do you get what I mean? 

In the past, whilst I would put some time and thought into planning any trip in terms of where we were staying, what the main sights were that we wanted to see etc, the plan would be pretty lose and we’d kind of make it up as we’d go, once we got there… you know being a bit spontaneous and seeing how the mood took us.

However, since Arthur (aka arthritis) decided to become a permanent fixture in our travel party, I’ve had to crank up the planning side of things and be more selective in the sights we see / places we go. I can no longer go on walking holidays, which are one of our favourite types of holidays, as we love being out in the countryside. When we lived in England we would go for long weekends to the Lake Districts, the Shropshire countryside and the Isle of Man, and walk for miles. However, now I have difficulty walking for long as I get ridiculously tired thanks to Arthur. Plus, as I have arthritis in my feet and knee I really struggle with rough uneven surfaces because I trip easily, especially if I’m really tired. I also have difficulty climbing stairs so I won’t be going up any mountains or climbing stairs to get to the top for some amazing view / sight anytime soon… that makes me really sad :o(

This weekend, as I was compiling the list of sights we want to see in each city, I found myself in turmoil because I really, like really really, want to see it all! It’s not only that I want to see it all, but I feel I should see it all, because I know I am so lucky to have this amazing opportunity of visiting this wonderful country. My mum never got the opportunity to travel when she was my age and I know many of my friends feel I’m very lucky to travel as much as I do (although this was partly down to my career) and so I feel I must see it all, mustn’t I? I feel like I owe it to all the people in my life, especially my mum, who can’t travel (for whatever reason), to see as much as I can so that I can share it all with them via photos and videos. But just as much, I feel like I owe it to myself, because I know there will come a time in the future, where no matter how much I want to, I just will not be able to travel thanks to Arthur. 

I guess if I’m being totally honest, I sort of live in fear, not knowing how badly or when my arthritis will progress to a stage where my body can no longer cope with travelling. I’ve had a little bit of an insight into this when I’ve had those rare but debilitating episodes of extreme fatigue that have left me with so little energy and strength that I’ve been unable to wash my hair and had difficulty just dressing myself. These episodes have both scared and scarred me because the fatigue has been sooo extreme that even complete bed rest made no difference. I’ve just had to wait patiently for that particular episode to pass. 

In and amongst all of this turmoil, I have this voice in my head telling me not to push myself and force Arthur / my body to do more than he is capable of. I will only live to regret if I end up getting ill during the trip because then I’ll end up seeing even less. So, in order to manage this internal conflict, I’m having to invest a lot more time in the preparation of this trip than I would have in the past, pre-Arthur. I’ve been making a list of all the places that we would like to see, in an ideal world. Then my hubby and I have been selecting the places on the list that we definitely want to see versus places that would be nice to see, if we have the time (and energy). 

We’ve been prioritising sights and activities that we feel are unique to Japan, for example, whilst it would be nice to go to the botanical gardens where there are plans from around the world, we feel this experience isn’t unique to Japan per se, because we have Gardens by the Bay in Singapore which has plants from around the world too, although I appreciate they may be different. We would rather spend that time visiting some temples and shrines that are set in beautiful grounds, home to gardens and designs that are uniquely Japanese… do you get what I mean?

In addition, this weekend I will be sitting down with a transport map of each city and pinpointing where each place that we want to visit is, relative to each other. This is so that I can plan routes and an order of seeing things that requires the least amount of travel thus giving us more time to actually see the sights. I appreciate that this sounds very rigid and Monica-esque (Friends reference) but when you have compromised physical health, planning becomes all the more important and can help save valuable time.

However, whilst my body isn’t as well as it used to be, my mind is still pretty sharp and my soul is still the same so I wouldn’t be surprised if once we get to Japan, the excitement and invigoration takes over!  Resulting in me throwing caution to the wind and we just do / see what we feel like doing, there and then in the moment… you know being spontaneous and all that… but at least we will have the list and the map and all that prep as back up, just in case we need it. In the meantime, all this prep is helping me manage my internal conflict and dilemma :o) so it’s not a waste of time, not at all, and who knows, maybe Arthur will surprise us all and behave nicely throughout the trip... I live in hope :o)

Do you relate to my dilema of wanting to see everything but feeling unable to, be it due to poor health or lack of time? How do you manage this? Do you have the difficulty of balancing the planning and prep side of things so you don't miss anything with the desire to be spontaneous?

Love Sheen xxx

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