This goes without saying: All of us have our own source of inspiration, someone or something that can provide us with the extra surge of energy and motivation when we need it.

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes- a person, an object, an incident, a story, a phrase etc. I have several people whom I look up to and gain inspiration from their achievements, but more importantly, their mindsets which may or may not have led to their success, if any. I am more of a passive person than an active one, in the sense that I am better at listening than speaking. I like to listen to people talk, though I wish sometimes I could join in the conversation too. I like to observe what is around me, because what lies around us can sometimes tell us a lot. For example, as I am writing this, I look around my messy table and see several things- books, a watch, juice bottles, keychains etc. Each of these items tell me a story of myself, since these are all my belongings. Without even uttering a single word, these random items lying on my table tell me a story by generating images and sparking past memories to life.

The watch generates an image of my mother, as she was the one who bought it for me before I came to Japan. It gives me a time frame: in the year 2008. Looking at the watch, I could almost see myself in it, in many places and circumstances- various parts of Japan, Taiwan, England, Spain, Morocco, France, in Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.  It lits up the blurry past memories into fresh vivid images of me travelling all around Japan, and to Europe, as I always wore this watch wherever I went. However, this very watch lying on the table lifelessly now, is broken. The strap is broken, so I cannot wear it anymore. It has lost its function as a wristwatch (though it still functions as a watch). As unused as it is now, it still does tell me many things if I stare hard enough at it.

As seen, every object tells us a tale, if we bother to be quiet and lend our ears to them. And each of these tales will provide us with the slightest of inspiration for the biggest dreams we have.

This next part is about travelling. Friends who know me well, would know that I like travelling, and especially travelling alone. However, I must admit that I am unlike many of the backpackers or lone travellers in the world who can go on trips without contact with the world for a few months. I succumb to loneliness very easily. And perhaps this is why I like travelling alone. I am exposed to my weakness everytime I set off on a lone trip, sometimes I regret travelling alone for too long a period, but this regrettable feeling is off-set everytime I get back home after a trip. Many people ask me, “Why don’t you travel with some friends?” Well, I do travel with friends at times, but it is just another kind of experience travelling alone. This paradox between travelling alone and feeling lonely is a huge conflict within myself as I try to think of ways to reconcile it all the time.

I like to tell myself, if I can learn to appreciate the beauty of loneliness and savour this heart-wrenching loneliness, I would be able to see this world in a different perspective and this world would become a more pleasant and beautiful place.

I have been to multiple lone trips, mainly in Japan, and once overseas. Japan contains 47 prefectures altogether and I have this little aim to travel to all these 47 prefectures by the time I graduate in March 2012. Whilst it is difficult to define whether or not I “have been to a certain place”, I just try my best to know as much as I can about the place I visit, before ticking off the list of 47 prefectures. I have been to 38 so far, and as I mentioned, some of these where I merely stayed for a few hours, whereas others for at least one night. The interesting thing about travelling is not really about the destination itself (though of course it does matter), but about how we feel and what we think as we step off the train or plane, looking at the things around us. Experience on this around-Japan trip will be written in Japanese under the “Japanese” section of this blog.

On the other hand, for this English section, I hope to share some of my experiences and thoughts of travelling, based mainly on a lone trip I had, to Europe (and Taiwan on the way). I set off on a trip in March 2010, to Europe, mainly Spain for 11 days, and 1 or 2 nights spent in London, Morocco and Paris each. It was my first time travelling out of Asia, and of course my  first time in Europe. It was indeed a great experience travelling alone in a totally foreign land. More of this will be written in the future entries in this English section. Do look forward to them!