For thirteen years before I boarded Delta flight DL296 from Shanghai to Narita, the journey lived at the back of my mind. It was always there, calling out to me, thrusting itself into my conscious awareness through any gap it could to color my thoughts with longing.
Some things have an irresistible draw. They put you in a decaying orbit and eventually you go crashing headlong into that very thing. The landing is rough. All of a sudden, you’re tumbling ass over teakettle, wondering what happens next.
Three times before I moved to Japan, I visited. Each visit confirmed what my gut told me: this was where I needed to be.
Gut feeling will often get you going in the right direction. But as great as it is with gist, it seldom delivers the details. Those are up to the individual.
So you go looking for answers. This process can be captivating. A loose thread at which you can’t help but tug, curious to see what happens when you do. So you pull, you get an answer, and you go searching for the next thread.
That flight landed at Narita five years, nine months, and seventeen days ago. Two thousand one hundred nineteen days of looking for answers and sorting through details.
I’m where I need to be, though most days I still feel lost. Which is fine, because I finally understand that it’s not about finding the path to follow, it’s about creating your own.