Thursday, 20 May 2010

Travel Lessons Learnt During My Kyoto Trip

Lessons learnt during the Kyoto Trip-

1) Open your heart to those around you, to help or be helped as the case may be. We are ultimately all Pilgrims on this planet, whether or not we are in our 'home countries'

2) Make a plan, perhaps with a backup in some cases, but a plan to be followed fairly religiously. This avoids confusion and it should be clear that the main plan always takes precedence. The travel is more enjoyable when you can be in the moment rather than thinking all the time of what comes next.

3) Travel light (wherever possible). For cameras, one Dslr and a backup are best, or perhaps two with lightish lenses. The same goes for bags; bring what youy need, but travel light.

4) Make a longer trip in the beginning of the day and do things closer to home in the evening. The distance needs to be measured partly in travel time, but also in the amount of things to be done there. That is, a single event with a longer travel time may well be shorter than a short journey with many things to do.

5) In connection with this, places where the main attraction is early-closing temples or museums need to be done first- not just early in a way that might need rushing, but first. Things involving evening walks or at least no closing times can be last.

6) Work plans within the confines of local transportation and the need for regular breaks- at least one main meal is needed, be it lunch or dinner. Too hard a schedual is to be avoided, as if isn't enjoyable and won't produce the memories or pictures desired. It can also make you irritable and closed to others- whilst part of the very purpose of the trip is to meet others and share the fun.

7) Breaks are as important as the action. They are a chance to gather thoughts, plan, meet others, meditate on the meaning of events and also of course their most obvious function, looking after the needs of the body itself.

8) Events and visits need build up, to create the anticipation they deserve. Rushing to places isn't as good as approaching them in a sensitive manner, cognisant of the meaning-values that they supply. One way to dp this is to use especially-themed buses of trains to get there. Sure, they're touristy, but they get you in the mood and avoid your great enemy- a complacent addiction to mundane, everyday reality, with it's obsession with convenience and predictable, mediocre results.

9) You see the whole idea is to stay aware that you are on a trip, bringing your fantasies aof the place or time into your reality. Whatever will dilute this or even obscure it with unneccessary confusion is to be avoided at all costs. This is real travelling- and with it's openess to the people around you and respect for the surroundings, it is as good for others as for you. Smooth yet inspiring- let these be your watchwords for your time in Japan.

10) A trip may be short, even tiring, at times difficult- yet the benefits offered are immence. It doesn't end with the duration of the journey- a trip leaves a residual inner impression and imbues you with the essence of the place. It is a great chance to acquire experience, knowledge, even grow in wisdom or faith as you see more of how life works, beyond the usual goldfish bowl-like limitations of waking life.

Side Notes-

1) Don't have to see everything in a place, just what interests you the most. Likewise, with temples, sone of them have expansive grounds that may not always be all that interesting. You can always leave after seeing the main attractions- which isn't to say you shouldn't wonder around the other parts if you like it there. Just don't feel you have to be a completest about it. After all, no-one else will really care what you chose to do, but they'll be interested in your stories about it.

2) If there is a pass, especially for buses of trains, it is generally worth getting. This not only for the financial benefits (which may be small or nob-existant). More, for the ease of use, so you aren't fiddling for change.

3) Likewise, before you set out, make sure you have everything you need. Keys, money, charged camera batteries, tissues, coupons if needed. Nothing is worse than the frustrationof finding out too late that you forgot something. That isn't to say you shoud bring too much, either! Bring what you needs d maybe a little bit extra, just in case. But travel a bit light and feel free from pressure to use things just because you brought them along. With modern, wheeling luggage you can bring a lot overall- but what you bring when you set out the door should be a lot less.

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