Snowy Beaches in Hakodate, Japan

After my New Years pit stop in Sendai, I continued north to Hakodate. My plan was to keep going north until I couldn’t go any further, or until it got too cold, since I was traveling in the middle of winter. I chose Hakodate because one of the friends I made while I was staying in Hai Phong, Vietnam over Christmas, Peter, told me about this city and said he studied abroad here and it was a great little town. I loved that it wasn’t a huge touristy city so that I could explore it myself instead of follow in so many other traveler’s footsteps.

It was such a cozy city that I ended up extending my stay here for a couple days to slow down, enjoy the snow, wander the city, the beaches and see the snow monkeys.

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How Do I Do Everything I Want to Do?

Recently I’ve internalized something extremely empowering: I feel like I know how to learn skills, get good at things and do them well. I have learned that it takes a lot of practice, it takes a lot of work, and it takes a ton of time and patience but if I put in the effort, eventually I’ll be good at it.

That’s made me want to try and do everything, because I feel like I can get good at anything I want to do as long as I put in the time. However I quickly realized I don’t know if I have the time to do all the things I want to do. So now I’m stuck with the question: How do I do everything I want to do? Is it even possible to do everything I want to do?

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New Years in Sendai, Japan

I couldn’t find anywhere to stay in Tokyo over New Years because the entire city was booked, so I improvised and headed to Sendai as a stowaway on a late night train out of Tokyo. I figured that Sendai is off the tourist radar, especially over New Years so it would be easy to find reasonably priced accommodations, and I wanted to see how a regular city in Japan operated over the holiday.

It turned out to be an incredibly memorable New Years: I had Japanese hot pot with a local family, rang in the New Years by going to a local temple with a midnight food market, got a traditional Japanese New Years fortune, and found a local New Years tradition where they weave thousands of small LED lights through the barren branches up and down a street in the city, which made for an incredibly beautiful view at night.

Some of my favorite stories to tell from my entire 6 months solo backpacking trip came from this unexpected stop.

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Staggering, Serene, and Stowaway - Stories From Tokyo

I headed to Japan after spending Christmas in Hai Phong, Vietnam. I was looking forward to getting out of the sweltering heat of Southeast Asia and not having to constantly be on guard for mosquitoes. I planned on staying for a month in Japan, and I had the JR pass which meant that I could ride as many trains as I wanted during a three week period. It was the perfect environment to explore and backpack freely around the country.

I flew into Osaka but immediately took a train to Tokyo. My game plan was to make my way north until I got tired or it got too cold, then loop back down, eventually ending back in Osaka because I had to fly out of there.

Here are some stories and photos from my time in Tokyo where I ended up seeing familiar faces from back home for the first time in 4 months, stumbled upon a huge manga convention, caught the sunset from a serene island park, and nearly became stranded and homeless in Tokyo the day before New Years Eve.

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Christmas in Hai Phong, Vietnam

It’s been a while since I wrote about my 6 month solo backpacking adventure but I’m determined to document the entire adventure before it fades too far into my memory. Continuing where I left off, which was in Bangkok, Thailand. I flew off to Hai Phong Vietnam, where I spent the Christmas holiday, met many wonderful new friends and got a much needed taste of home.

Vietnam was a last minute decision. It was December 2018, I was in India, I had already decided I would go to Thailand afterwards because I found a ridiculously cheap flight from Mumbai to Bangkok, but I didn’t know where I would spend Christmas on the road. I figured it would be in a hostel somewhere in Thailand, or I’d leave to Taipei, Hong Kong, maybe Manila? While I was pondering this, my friend back home in the States asked about how my trip was going and also suggested I stay at her Dad’s house in Vietnam for the holidays since I was ‘nearby’. He runs an English school for locals and most of the students and the volunteer teachers were around my age.

That sounded like a great place to spend Christmas so I applied for my Vietnam visa online and booked a flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Hai Phong, Vietnam.

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How to Defeat Laziness and the 'Urge To Do Nothing'

I am about 5 months into starting my own business and self-employment, and there is a new challenger that seeks to block me from my goals. It arises in my brain when I try and ‘work’ from home. This is what happens: I will usually be on the couch after eating breakfast and have made the decision to get up, start the day and get stuff done. But another part of my brain just does not want to move because it knows I don’t have to, I’m my own boss, I can do anything, I can just keep browsing random news articles or flicking through my phone. That goes on for longer than I’m happy with until I start trying to make deals with myself, negotiating and coercing the side of my brain that doesn’t want to do anything it doesn’t have to. It ends up in a tug of war, where the other side is an anchor, until I finally break through using sheer force of will. All of this rages on in my head while any external observer would just see me lazily sitting on the couch at 9:24am.

This happens multiple times a day to varying degrees, and I find it as fascinating as I do frustrating.

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My 16 Year PC Gaming Journey - Part 1 - The Beginnings

I took down my gaming PCs permanently today. They have been sitting on my desk, unused and gathering dust for over a year now. They are finally getting taken down because I’m moving out of my bedroom and prepping it as a rental bedroom.

I unplugged all the wires, peripherals and put them in a box, then laid the mouse pad on top. I felt like I was laying them to rest… I was surprised how emotional it all felt especially since I have not touched any of it in over a year. But when I think about it, these gaming computers were a huge part of my life. Gaming took me on a crazy 16 year journey during which I had a ton of fun, I started businesses, got flown out to Prague as an influencer, got my dream job out of college, and learned invaluable life lessons and skills. They were my way to escape reality when I didn’t want to deal with it, for good and for bad.

Now these things are in my closet because I don’t have the heart to sell/donate/recycle them yet, but I know that’s their next destination because I don’t see myself setting them up again.

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How To Make the Right Choice

The difference between active versus passive living is in whether or not you are the one making the decisions that affect your life or if somebody else is. I think most of us want to have control over our lives and not live passively, however decisions can be extremely difficult to make, especially when there are so many possibilities and choices. It’s a common problem for people living in first world nations. It’s a huge blessing and privilege to have a lot of choices, however it can paralyze us with anxiety as we get stuck analyzing the possible outcomes of all these choices, trying to pick the best one. It’s exhausting, and it defaults us to living passively, having other people or other circumstances in life make choices for us.

This is something that I have been battling ever since I took the reins of my life into my own hands and actively started making choices towards the goals I wanted, instead of wishing and waiting for opportunities to fall into my lap. It has not been easy but here’s what I have learned so far.

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