By: Tania Arteaga
Coming from a large single-parent family, I never knew what a family vacation was like. We were 7 sisters and 4 brothers, all dependent on mom.
I grew up with the idea that I would never leave Mexico and imagining myself in other countries was like leaving the planet, impossible.
But from the age of 14 it stuck in me. very deep, the idea of one day getting to know Japan. The whole time it was a fanciful idea and I didn’t even try to think about seeing myself materializing the dream.
In my 20s, being independent and working tirelessly, I considered viable the idea that at some point in my life, I could go to Japan. All thanks to the travel bloggers that I started reading at 18, they made me believe that I could, that I didn’t need to be a millionaire or come from a wealthy family to fulfill my dream.
From there, I started saving money and getting around the place, all thanks to Google Maps. I walked the streets and avenues virtually, while safeguarding the little money that fell into my pockets.
I will never forget my 22nd, when I found a flash deal from Monterrey to Narita airport; my heart jumped for joy because I did have the money! I bought my flight no matter what and called the only person who might agree to come with me: my brother, who I hadn’t seen for years because we live in different countries.
To my great fortune, he accepted and we arranged to see each other there.
The trip was agreed for January 2020, months before I took pains to create the best travel itinerary that guaranteed to cover most of the beautiful landscapes that I took from the internet. Months before I also had panic attacks, I imagined that my lungs would freeze because I had never seen snow and I suffered from anxiety at the thought of dealing with culture and language shock.
I took several deep breaths and put my fears to rest…adventure awaited me.
I arrived hours before my brother and I gave myself the opportunity to step on the Japanese lands before, everything was magic. I felt like I was floating, I didn’t believe it.
I cried with happiness when I stepped on the beach, it was a beach so different from what I knew. It was a beach of black sand, icy wind and overwhelming sun.
While the surfers danced in the waves, I offered a prayer of thanks to the Daibutsu, the Great Buddha of Kamakura, finally realizing that I was 10,811.94 km away from home and it was all thanks to a dream.