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Hi.

I'm Stephanie Lee. I like to write about all sorts of things. Remember, nothing is foolproof to the sufficiently talented fool.

The first day of the rest of my life

The first day of the rest of my life

Anniversaries are a funny thing. It almost seems a natural human trait to want to commemorate certain days and moments beyond the merely obvious birthdays and weddings. These days it's increasingly difficult not to be reminded of certain inane 'anniversaries' whether we want to or not thanks to Facebook memories.

Having a brain for numbers and dates certainly contributes to my own regular silent commemoration of days, times and places long past but are still fresh in my mind.

Today marks exactly one year since the first day of the rest of my life. After a quick jaunt around Singapore, for the incredibly indulgent sole purpose of attending a music festival, I landed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed* into the fresh, wintry morning Osaka air ready for the next adventure.

Or so I thought.

The beginning of the rest of my life meant leaving behind my previous profession as a public servant with only a few grand in savings, a Japan working holiday visa and my passport. Craving a more spontaneous lifestyle, rather than what can often be a humdrum existence in Canberra, my boyfriend and I set off to the land of the rising sun with no real plan, just the promise of endless ramen and green tea plumbed into the side of the sushi train. We thought that if we were going to have a quarter-life crisis, then we might as well do it right!

Bad idea.

It turns out I don't work so well without a plan. Soon enough the open-ended nature of our adventure began to gnaw away at my sanity. After all, I'd left Canberra in search of a new purpose for my life. And the new reality of Japan - mainly sitting around without a plan - wasn't really quite meeting the brief. 

I had a bit of a rough idea of what we might do - teach here and there, work on a farm maybe, travel around, visit temples, eat ramen, eat udon, eat sushi, eat soba, drink sake, green tea and genmaicha... You get the idea.

Soon enough though, reality set in and I realised that something had to give. If I really wanted to find out what I wanted for the rest of my life then I had to work it out on my own. And so we broke up. But an agreement was struck: we'd stay in our already booked and paid for accommodation until we sorted out our next moves.

My first instinct was to catch the next flight home to Sydney for a hug from Mum, get in touch with some contacts in Canberra and slink back into that life as though nothing had ever happened. 

But that's not what my family is about. We're a stubborn bunch. In my head, coming home would have been admitting defeat, admitting failure. So I pushed on and decided I had to go it alone, at least until I met up with my family in Croatia, planned for August.

Having never travelled solo before, the prospect was wholeheartedly the most daunting thing I've ever contemplated thus far in my almost-27 years. Everyone will tell you, and you must be sick of hearing it, but travelling alone is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself. It also gives you so much time to finally listen to all those podcasts clever people tell you about but that you have never been able to find the time for.

I won't go on and on about it, because you can read more about my travels from last year in previous posts, but without finding myself in Japan on 3 February 2016, I never would have found my next step, my next life or my next self. Something worth commemorating.

Kampai!

SL x.

p.s. for those uninitiated or otherwise curious, I'll have an explainer on the 'quarter-life crisis' phenomenon soon.

*More like bleary-eyed and irritable after an overnight flight from Singapore, hence there are no photos from my actual first day of the rest of my life so here are some other snaps.

Reflection seflie at the Umeda Sky Building, Osaka. Pre-solo travel.

Reflection seflie at the Umeda Sky Building, Osaka. Pre-solo travel.

Embarking on a new path in Sumoto.

Embarking on a new path in Sumoto.

Mastering the self-timer - essential for solo travel. Sumoto, Awajishima, Japan.

Mastering the self-timer - essential for solo travel. Sumoto, Awajishima, Japan.

Hold onto your hats

Hold onto your hats