This is more of a sentimental video, full of moments that only those who were there would understand. But it's a great example of what our day to day was like in Japan and how well we meshed as a group. You're traveling companions can make or break a trip -- but these guys made it! Japan, I miss you and can't wait to come back.
Mt. Fuji, attracts people for all different kinds of reason: inspiration, good fortune, spirituality, ego, expression of gratitude. When I knew I was coming to Japan, Mt. Fuji was one of those things I had to see. I'm not sure why either. I didn't know much about it. I remember seeing photos in my textbook and I thought it was cool but I'd continue flipping through the pages and easily forget about the mountain.
But now it was calling to me.
When we pulled up to Lake Motosu I couldn't hold back the tears. All the mountains (hills) surrounding us were dwarfed by the majesty of Fuji. It felt like everything in my life that had caused me pain and sadness was pulled out of me and laid to rest at the bottom of the lake.
I had to feel the mountain beneath my feet. On a whim, we headed to the mountain around 11:00pm. We drove up as far as we could (half way point) and began climbing. That's when the world went quiet, existing beneath a blanket of clouds. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.
There is so much activity happening beneath us, no matter where you are in the world. We can't feel it, we don't know it's there, but this planet is alive. I was so aware of that fact when climbing Mt. Fuji. It's not like I could physically feel movement or activity beneath me but there was an energy that moved from the Earth through my feet and into my body. I was right where I was meant to be. Despite the heavy breathing and tired muscles I felt so alive and at peace with everything in my life.
We spent a lot of time in the van trying to cover as much ground as possible. We were staying with Japanese Hosts a lot of the time but the times we were sent out into the unknown on our own things got really random and interesting. There are no laws against camping in Japan. Every camp site we found has been from looking for green patches of color on a GPS in hopes there will be a piece of wilderness to lay out our sleeping pads. Each one was different and more interesting than the last. But the most impressive one was the spot Zach found on a hunch, driving on a single lane road through the forest that spit us out on an old cement fishing dock. We had no idea what it looked like when we set up the SUP fort but you'll see in this short video how the view totally made up for the sketchy smell of paint thinner and fish.
Coming up next: Mt. Fuji
We spent five days at Suggoi Sports located near the Yoshino River. It was one of the most striking landscapes we came across in the country. Suggoi Sports took such good care of us, the hospitality we received was unreal. After a couple car accidents we were without a rental for a few days and had to be very reliant on our hosts. Mentally that was probably the most difficult obstacle to overcome over the trip and we were so lucky to have Suggoi Sports to house us for that stressful point in our trip. Thank you Rangi and Q at Suggoi for putting up with us and Yacu for taking care of the rental car headache. We can't wait for you both to come to Colorado so we can repay you!
I'm writing this late because I haven't had access to wifi for the past two days. We're in Japan, a day late and just now getting some wifi that's worth something. This Video is only from Day 1 of our two days of traveling. Everyone is in their sleeping bags and that's where I should be too.
We were suppose to be in Tokyo yesterday. Instead we spent the night in Beijing, China. What was suppose to be a two hour layover turned out to be 16 hours.
We got off our flight with 10 minutes until our flight was meant to depart. We were meant by a clerk at the International Transfer desk telling us our flight is missing and we’ll have to book a new one.
And so the adventure begins. We were ping ponged between the same two desks about five times, it didn’t seem like anyone knew what we were suppose to do. Moment of discomfort number one.
Finally, we were directed by a woman in a gold suit, wearing a vest with the words 'Help You' embroidered on the back. Yes, please Help US! At this point it was 3 am back home.
Our flights were rebooked for the next morning at 9:30. They booked us hotel rooms for the night and issued us temporary visas to enter China, a piece of paper no bigger than my pinkie.
As much as we would have preferred to be in Japan we were all grateful for the full nights sleep. Despite our angst about our luggage making it everyone handled it so well and looked at it as the adventure that it is.
We've just arrived at our friend Yaku's house, it's late here and we're all exhausted. Our sleeping pads are laid out on the porch. We'll be falling asleep to the sounds of crickets and the river. Tomorrow we head North to paddle.
Japan was an unexpected trip, entirely impulsive. I leave in two days and it still doesn't feel real.
I almost bailed a multitude of times because of financial stresses. Thankfully, my great friend base whom don't view money as a viable excuse, told me I'd be an idiot to pass this up.
It's a trip of a lifetime. I get that. How could I back out?
I've been traveling more than I ever have in my life this Summer. My time in Colorado have been more like layovers between trips...two days there, four days here. I do miss my family and Colorado friends but I'm happiest when I'm on the move.
Nadia Almuti, Joey Seputo, Bradley Hilton, Paul Clark, Zach Mahone, and myself are meeting up with our Japanese friends Yaku and Yoshi. They've created a full itinerary for us and are seeing to it that we paddle as many rivers as possible.
I'm going into this fairly blind. I haven't had a huge hand in the planning. Since this was an impulsive trip and I've been fairly occupied I haven't found much time to prepare.
I don't speak a lick of Japanese and no idea where more than half of the places are that we're staying. This will be a true test of my adaptive abilities. I'm going in with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow from the experience.
I want all of you to experience this journey with me. So for the next three weeks I'll be making short video edits of each day and posting them in real-time as long as I have wifi access. I want to document the highs, the lows, and everything in between.
Currently, I'm in Malibu to surf for a couple days before the long flight. Tomorrow night I'll be meeting up with part of the crew to discuss our trip and get ready for our departure on Saturday.
My goal is to inspire you to get out and make shit happen by pushing through the doubts, the discomfort, and the stress. I can almost guarantee it'll be worth it.