No Longer Lost

Hello beautiful platform, thank you for waiting. It’s been a while. 

Last time we spoke, Bryson and I had just hiked and stayed overnight on top of a sacred mountain. A few days later, we started packing up our lives on the other side of the world, doing our best to ready ourselves for the end of the 2016 Japanese adventure.

I still have some special moments to share from our time away, but to tell you the truth, it’s been hard letting the last of the memories go. Please understand that I need a bit of time with them before I am able to share them with you all, but also trust that they will come your way, in time, they will come.

As you may have seen in a previous blog post, for the year of 2016, I decided against resolutions and chose to live up to a word instead. The word I chose was “grow”, or should I say it chose me…

I’m not entirely sure where the word came from, but it sort of popped into my head before the year even started, sort of like a little heads-up for the year ahead. Although I questioned it, I chose to trust the word and live by it to the best of my abilities. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, and my time in Japan, you’ll know that that lil’ old word rang oh so true!

We started 2017 with friends, midnight temple walks, and 6am Karaoke ballads. Ten days later, we would be leaving the crazy and amazing country that had become our home over the past year.

It was both exciting and hard coming back to Canada. We both had butterflies about how we would feel coming back to a place that we had grown so far from.

Slowly but surely we slept off our time difference, and surrounded ourselves with the city we grew up in.

If I’m being honest, it’s been a difficult adjustment for me. Similar to what many other travellers have experienced, we went from exploring new places every day to strolling through a city that we knew better than the back of our hands. I felt lost in a place I knew so well, because I felt like I had left a large part of myself and my personal growth back in Japan.

That is when my new word for the year of 2017 chose me. This year is going to be the year of “me”.

Now I know this might sound selfish but really, a little selfishness is ok if you’re dedicating it to bettering yourself.

Through this year of me I have decided to:

Believe.

Give.

Trust.

Accept.

Focus.

Dream.

Create.

Learn.

Commit.

Forgive.

Care.

Question.

and Transform into someone who is no longer lost, but knows exactly who she is.

So let’s catch up and talk about what I’ve been up to lately…

  • I went snowshoeing for the first time in 12 years.
  • I went snowmobiling for the first time ever with my love.
  • I’ve learned how to snowboard in 2 days.
  • I’ve given myself a minor black eye.
  • I’ve almost given myself a concussion.
  • I’ve soaked my cold bones in a hot tub overlooking the most beautiful snowy mountains I have ever seen.
  • I’ve become a vegetarian.
  • I’ve started doing yoga almost every second day.
  • I’ve put myself out there and met amazingly beautiful like-minded people.
  • I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid!
  • I have been spending a lot of time with my love, my family, and my friends.
  • I’ve been honest about my feelings in every situation.
  • AND I’ve listened to my inner self and thanked her everyday for being brave enough to focus on what she truly wants.

So without further ado, here are some of my recent memories that I’d like to share with you.

Talk soon 

Mount Koya

Bryson and I recently hit our 9th month of living in a city centre. As convenient and exciting as it is living in such a high traffic area, nothing beats escaping to the mountains for a breath of fresh air.

About one month ago, Bryson and I booked a night at a beautiful buddhist temple on the top of a famous mountain called Mount Koya. The temple we stayed in is over 1,000 years old and sits in a town in the centre of a mountain range (which is said to be shaped like a lotus flower), with 120 other temples surrounding it, as well as a very famous and sacred cemetery.

Most people choose to take the train and cable car to the top of the mountain, but we decided to follow a network of pilgrimage trails from halfway up the mountain. There are many different trails to choose from, the longest taking about 1 week to complete.

We chose to follow a well known spiritual trail that took us about 3 hours. Every 100 meters or so, there stands a stone marker that was placed to help the pilgrims find their way both up and down the mountain range.

Each stone marker has a number carved into it in Kanji. There are 180 markers on the trail, and each are made to represent the five buddhist elements, Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Void.

We couldn’t believe the incredible shades of green along the trail, as well as the beautiful spiritual energy that followed us from the start, all the way to the top of the mountain range.

As we finished our hike and made our way through the town of Koya to our temple, the sun was setting and the air was beautifully cool and crisp.

We were immediately greeted by the owner of the temple and he quickly showed us the facilities.

He showed us the eating area where we would be served a vegan dinner and breakfast the following morning.

He showed us the amazingly warm and ever-flowing bathing areas where we would soak our cold bones in a gorgeous wooden bamboo bath that filled up past our shoulders.

He showed us the area where we would go watch the monks chant the following morning at sunrise.

And he showed us our cozy tatami room, where we would spend our time drinking tea, relaxing, and admiring the view.

The following day we check out after breakfast and walked towards Okunoin Temple. This temple is said to be one of the most sacred places in Japan, as it is known for holding the founder of Shingon Buddhism, who is said to be resting there in an eternal meditation. This temple is also known for having one of the largest cemeteries, with over 200,000 tombstones nestled between the most beautiful old growth forest.

As we walked along the path, the sun was peaking through the trees and water was beginning to evaporate off of the moss covered tombs and statues. It was truly stunning and unlike anything we had ever seen.

As you can imagine, we were very reluctant to the return back to the city.

I think we can see ourselves living like this every day.

xo

Oh The Colours

If I were to recommend a time to visit Japan, it would be in the autumn. As unbelievably beautiful as cherry blossom season is, the glorious fiery hues that glow against the deep greens during the fall season are absolutely breathtaking 

More posts coming very soon!

xo

Kyoto in the rain

I’m of the opinion that one of the best times to visit Kyoto is during a storm.

When everyone else is cozying up at home, or hiding away in the nearest shopping centre, it is so worth braving the elements for moments like these…

xo