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This is something I've been wondering about recently, and I'm very interested in people's (in depth?) responses.
I have a billion things to work on, and a billion things that other people do better than me, so this isn't meant to be a "look how great I am" post (like every other post on this site...).
One thing that I'm particularly good at, though, is figuring out the best action to take and just doing it and sticking with it. Not always, but close. I figured out the best exercise program and still do it. Two years ago I decided that being vegan was the most healthy thing to do and have stuck with it since. I wanted to travel more so I left and am traveling the best way I can figure out. Blah, blah, blah.
I've been doing Crossfit for the past eight months. The past two months have not been perfect, sometimes for valid reasons, sometimes not. I'd give myself an 85% for those two months and a 99% for the rest. I'sm getting off topic, but I feel like it's necessary to address on my blog the times I screw up too.
I love Crossfit and think it's the best program (of those I've researched) for me as well as most people out there. I believe that I could have probably made bigger gains muscle wise with a strict heavy lifting and high protein diet, but it would have been at the expense of other benefits.
I've gained some weight and a lot of muscle definition. Muscle definition is always more impressive to the person experiencing it, because we're honed in on the nuances of our bodies, but when I look in the mirror and flex, I look like a little Greek god in training. With the standard amount of downlighting in a bathroom I have a clearly defined six pack, and when I flex my arms I have little bicep mountains.
Just over a year ago I was in this same place. It's a short and touristy row of shops leading up to a temple in Asakusa, Japan. Last time I was here it was my first time in Japan, which meant that I was so enthralled with being there that I didn't realize what a tourist trap it was.
Now I'm here again and I see the place in a different light. I've lived in Japan for almost two months now as part of my year long trip around the world.
As I look up at the paper lanterns dangling above the street I have a thought.
What a day. In an effort to totally avoid paying for hotels we have worked out an elaborate system of only taking night trains, where we can sleep as we travel.
Today that landed us in Aomori, a small city in Northern Japan. After spending two hours researching things to do there, I had found only one possibility: eat apples. The city is known for having good apples, and nothing else whatsoever.
With 14 hours before our next train to Sapporo, we had to find something else to do. To fuel our brainstorming we found a little trendy Italian restaurant called Piccolo. Even one-street towns in Japan have restaurants with beautiful interior design. It's important here. We lucked out - they use high quality ingredients, make their own sauces, and use extra virgin olive oil.
Something strange has been happening to me over the past year or so. I haven't written much about it because I'm almost in denial that it's happening.
I'm caring far less about money.
This is scary to admit. A lot of my identity, at least internally, is based around the desire and eventuality that I will become rich. Losing my motivation to be rich is like losing a part of myself. I feel like I'm right on the edge, as if I could just say, "forget it..." and never look back.
When I was ten I went to a Christian summer camp called Camp Calumet. We stayed in cabins with our counselors and a dozen other kids.
By a stroke of luck my best friend Ryan and I ended up in the cabin with the cool counselors. I don't remember either of their names, or even what they looked like, but I remember that one of them had a sticker on his guitar case that asked, "Y B Normal?"
It was a cheesy sticker, of course, but as an impressionable kid it made me think. My counselor was probably the coolest guy I knew at the time, so I instantly equated being not normal with being cool.
I had better write an article today. The pressure from the family is mounting and we're about to take a mammoth train trip that will probably leave us internetless for a few days.
We got our train passes and immediately headed out on our pilgrimage to Shikoku. It was awesome. We'd never seen rural Japan before, but it was beautiful. There was a constant wind, which was the only thing you could hear once the train left. It sounded like a ghost town.
Some of the houses were built in such a traditional style that I mistook them for temples on more than one occasion.
I was reading a self improvement site a month ago and while reading it I had a thought.
"Is this actually going to make ANY difference in my life?"
Nope. Then I started thinking about what WOULD make a difference, and for reference I thought about things that had changed my life.
We're going on a pilgrimage. We just realized that our train passes are valid starting today, so we need to take a long trip to start it off.
Fourteen hours to the island prefecture of Shikoku sounds about right. In Shikoku there is a traditional 88 temple pilgrimage through the countryside and woods that covers 993 miles. Most people do it in 40-60 days on foot, although others wimp out and take the bus.
We don't have time for that, unfortunately, but we're going to head out tonight and walk for a day or two.
We finally bit the bullet and bought bikes. Not just any bikes, though, hilarious foldable ones.
They fold up pretty small and are light enough to carry around.
There's a term here, "gaijin smash", which is when a foreigner does something uncustomary or illegal but no one stops them because they're all too polite here.