“I used to be an accountant so there’s a voice telling me to take calculated risks. But Japan is really the safest place in the world. I try to convey that. People don’t believe that it could actually be that safe. You have nothing to fear, except perhaps, if you hate certain types of food. So just come to Japan. Trust me, I think you will love it. Take baby steps if you need to. But those baby steps can lead you to really amazing, unexpected places.
“I’m from Cincinnati, a place where most people don’t leave. The biggest thing for people from Cincinnati is to move to New York. A lot of people from Ohio will go to Chicago or New York if they’re looking for that bigger world experience. But I moved to Tokyo when I was 22, after an English teaching school came to my campus and told me I’d have ‘one year of adventure’ teaching abroad in Japan. Before that I only knew one person or two people from other countries. Travel shapes your world more than you think. It’s opened up my world.
“And so I started a travel blog to tell people about places they’ve never heard of in Japan. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone and finding these interesting things you may not have considered before. These days I like to go to more and more remote places. They don’t feel so similar to everywhere else. I had a very unique experience at a quirky hostel on an island up north. They have their own time zone (half an hour back), and there’s singing and dancing every night with staff members. You go on a hike, and when you get back, staff members are standing on the roof.
They’re dancing, singing and clapping you in. It’s just crazy, like a camp cult. I first heard about the island from a friend eight years ago. I’m glad I finally followed my own curiosity.
“Any fear that you have can be immediately erased or mitigated slowly, step by step, by trying new things. When I first started traveling by myself, I just did a 3-day trip to Kyoto. I was already living in Japan but had never traveled solo. That was a baby step for me. And it went well, so the next thing I did was two weeks in Cambodia and Thailand, which may seem like a leap but I was fine, apart from being sick for a bit because of some food issue. Once you do these things and you survive, it is possible to just take on more challenges.”
(Follow Becky’s adventures on www.tokyobecky.com, where she writes about what to do when you move to Japan, the first five places to see in the city, and other life hacks. She loves eating sushi, singing at karaoke, and running. But not necessarily in that order.)