One of the biggest changes I've made to my life recently has been tied to surrounding myself with things that bring me peace. It's been a challenging quest because we all wish to be content with the things that truly make us happy and wish we could forget the responsibilities of real life. I've made headway by appreciating the value that nature can bring to my personal clarity and also by carving out time in the day to do things like yoga and cooking healthy meals. It was in the midst of this groove that I received an amazing opportunity to explore Japan with Contiki, a company I had been speaking with for years hoping to collaborate on something together. The first impression I had upon googling the itinerary was the abundance of spirituality that the country possessed and how intertwined it was with nature. It was my goal to get to the root of this mindset and bring back a wealth of information on a culture that was so different to me but still felt familiar.
If you follow my instagram you would've been following the journey between Tokyo, Hakone, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Osaka. Within the first few days I realized just how different it was than I thought it would be. Tokyo was bustling at a faster pace than New York as we ran across Shibuya crossing, but even in the midst of chaos there was uniformity and order. Nothing is left in disarray but instead deliberately thought out to have harmony and order. All of the shrines were kept up to look as brand new as the day they were built and rocks, trees and water are all placed strategically. It definitely promotes wellness but in a different way than at home where I actively have to search out nature and healthy things to eat.
Kyoto and Hakone were my two favorite places on the itinerary. There's a history in Kyoto that you don't get in the other big cities. We arrived right at the start of cherry blossom season and strolled the canals watching brides pose for pictures in traditional clothing. I found the best matcha latte in the Geisha district and fell in love with the Nijo castle and how the floors were built so they chirp like nightingales to warn the shogun of preying ninjas. It was an incredible sound to listen to and again, another tie to nature that's deeply rooted in their history.
In terms of style, I packed with the idea of wanting to be comfortable, simple and with pieces that really let me really move. There's a lot of really crazy fashion around Japan that I'm sure you're familiar with but I wanted to focus on my modern interpretation of the vibe I picked up there which was simplicity. I ended up wearing lots of yoga gear and athletic things that really gave me versatility because we moved so fast to cover as much ground as possible.
Hakone is a place that a lot of women escape to to relax in nature and take in the sulfur springs and the stunning views of Mount Fuji. In a way it kind of reminded me of upstate New York (if it had a volcano) and had a beautiful lake and was a quaint mountain town feel. This hotel was super traditional. We had the opporutnity to sleep on a traditional futon-like bed on tatami mats with these gorgeous sliding paper doors that opened up with a view of the forest. It was truly incredible!
I think my biggest realization from a wellness perspective is that there's madness everywhere and women everywhere struggle with finding balance. The cities were so overstimulating with bright lights and tons of crowds, similar to New York, and it's all in how I can center myself in whatever condition I find myself in. Travel has a way of putting me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to be off-balance so I can constantly learn and be present in what's right in front of me.
I have so many more photos to share so I'm going to cut it off here because it will be the longest post in the history of blog land! I'm so grateful to Contiki for allowing me to explore this country and being the best group ever to tour with! I'll be giving a list of my top things to do as well and some hints on how to stay healthy while being away. More soon!