The other day I had a dream that I had moved to Japan. I’ve been to Japan before, and I loved it, so I was happy to be back. The dream began with me meeting all the townspeople of my little town, not far from Kanazawa City. Little old Japanese men came and gave me gifts, little “welcome presents,” and I got to talk to a few oba-chan.
The dream picked up when I went off to a church, near Kanazawa, to find some people I know. I thought it would be great to meet up with them and see them again. Sadly, they weren’t there and on the way back I ran into two kids mugging another kid. Because I’m a superhero in dreams I decided to step in. I threw the kids back, and rescued the other guy, and then I woke up.
I’m going into my junior year of college, and I’m ridiculously futuristic, so I’ve been giving my future plans some thought. I’ve looked around and one of the venues I’m looking at is the JET Programme. I’m interested in doing something with either Linguistics or TESL, and JET looks like a good way to get my foot in the door.
A lot of graduate TESL/Applied Linguistics masters programs require the applicant to either take two semesters of a foreign language with them, or the applicant has to demonstrate that they’ve learned a foreign language. Beyond that, I would have a lot of experience in TESL going into grad school, if I go to Japan to teach English. There are a lot of other options, like teaching in either China or Korea, but JET pays the best, and I loved Japan when I last visited.
I say all of that to say this: I love to travel. I could tell you all day about the places I’ve been and how amazing it was, but I’ll spare you, because there is no such thing as good without evil. Wanderlust has duality to it. Sure, getting to travel and be part of another country for a small period of time is a great experience, but when you get sucked back into your daily grind, and boring life, the discontentment piles itself on.
When certain smells take you away, it can be a nice, quick escape, but reality is a hard slap to the face. Living in a world without excitement or adventure is the most demoralizing for someone bitten by the travel bug. Working and achieving nothing, is a pain, but a necessary evil. I’ve recently read The Alchemist, a book I recommend to everyone, and I think back to a passage of it every time I deal with the desire to move along.
In the Alchemist, Santiago, the main character, has a dream that if he goes to the Great Pyramids he can find a treasure. Circumstances make him actually undertake the journey, and he ends up stuck in Morocco. A person who he believed to be his friend steals all of his money, and he finds work at a crystal shop. He doesn’t want to be there at first, but he makes a living there. He changes the store, draws in a plethora of customers, and makes a lot of money. However, the entire time he isn’t realizing his dream.
He falls into a trap of becoming content, but circumstances force him to move on. That’s the trouble with wanderlust. Sometimes you get stuck doing what you have to do. The world isn’t seamless. You can either make the best you can of it and do the best you can, or you can get stuck there, complacent.
Many people never realize their dreams and get stuck at a comfortable place in life. My challenge, now, is to do my best, but not to set up any roots. I have to keep my eyes on the prize and look forward to my goal, even though I don’t really know what my goal is. I just know that it’s better than what I’m doing now.
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