We spend weeks counting down the days until the
boarding call. Crossing off the dates on the calendar, edging
closer and closer to the aircrafts window of hope.
Travel is supposed to be a great time, right? The
sights, experiences, culture, friends and food: its what some of us
young guns live for. But what happens when your light at the end of
the tunnel is shat on? What if there was a bomb dropped on your
picture perfect getaway?
Japan was my destination. A month-long stint in
Tokyo, the city Id dreamed of as a kid, sitting in Japanese class
spending hours crafting the perfect origami paper crane. The crane
is a symbol of hope, and just like Sadako from the Thousand Paper
Cranes story, I was holding onto it with a similar plea. I was
convinced this trip was no longer a want, but a need.
My arrival was a shit-storm. After not one, but two
panic attacks at 35,000 feet, I stepped off the plane dripping with
sweat and tears with the reminder of my banana bread spew fresh on
my breath. Uncomfortably slipping out of my Birkenstocks as I
approached the carousel, I nervously awaited my 20-tonne Flylite.
Still in a flurry and pouring sweat, my trembling hands managed to
count the correct money for a Skyliner ticket to Nippori, the Tokyo
district Id be calling home. I was terrified, but I could not
pinpoint exactly what was so frightening. I just needed to feel
I will be fine once I get to the hotel, I repeated
over and over.
Stepping out of the station at around 9.30pm, I
resembled Dorothy as I was punched in the face by the culture,
cityscape and unbearable heat all at once. Where were my ruby red
I attempted to navigate myself to the hotel. I was
weak, still crying and exhausted. After a mental pep talk, in an
effort to get it together, I popped into a convenience store to ask
for directions. The air conditioning hugged me like an old friend
and I wiped my tears before approaching the staff member at the
counter. As I watched the young girl ponder my distraught
appearance, I could tell this was a dead-end. I left feeling more
defeated than ever and continued to drag my dead weight suitcase
Soon I spotted the all-too-familiar golden arches
and rushed to the free WiFi for help. I scrambled for my phone as I
felt myself thrown into another attack. Diners looked up from their
Big Macs as I hyperventilated and sobbed while sweating bullets and
internally screaming. A Japanese woman approached me. Desperate to
help, she bowed and hugged me, unphased by the mess Id become. She
asked me what was wrong, and as I choked on my breath, all I
managed to blurt out was, Im...