Breathing a little faster, I accelerate my pace. The steps continue upwards and onwards; the air becomes suddenly chilled. As the buzz of the crowds disappears behind me, the forest envelops me, and I forge on in my quest.

I enter this new world and suddenly I am alone.

Well, except for Kara, my new trusty travel companion. Just six days ago we e-mailed, her from southern California, me bouncing up and down the West Coast on a crazy four day work trip.

What are the dates for Japan? I have days off 🙂” –Kara

Oooo come to Japan!!! I’m going the 1-7 of November!” –Me

Kara bike

And so it was decided, just like that. We would meet up in Japan and go on this crazy adventure and keep moving forward; climbing towards our goals. Japan feels like the future, and there is something about this pace of life with its neon Suntory Soda signs and bullet trains and technology that just feels right, right now.

So we boarded a plane, got on a train and ended up in Kyoto.

And then something funny happened. For every mile we flew away from home, we felt pulled back. Wanting to move forward, we faced the perpetually rising sun and flew high. But something was pulling us back. What we left behind was unfinished business. Loose ends. An open-ended question.

Today we found ourselves at Yasaka Shrine in the Gion District of Kyoto. As we hiked up the steep steps to the silent temple, I retreated into my thoughts. And then I had an epiphany.

We travel the world, seeking pieces of our soul in every place on earth. We recognize these fragments of ourselves in the serene stillness of a Shinto shrine, in the twinkle of a bicycle bell and in the crinkly smile of an old Japanese woman, hurrying to dinner in her kimono and geta. Halfway across the world, you’ll discover yourself if you keep searching.

But we also find these bits of ourselves in the people around us. Our family, friends and loved ones who hold a bit of our heart. You can go 5,347 miles to find yourself. Or you can open your eyes and re-discover what’s right in front of you.

Happy searching, my friends.

Gion district

I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is. – Jiro Ono, famed sushi restaurant owner and subject of the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Celessa Lynn
writer // dreamer // adventurer // flight attendant

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