The trip hasn’t begun and already plans have changed. Our original plan was to fly out from Bradley to San Francisco, where we would stay at a hostel for a few days before setting out for Japan. Turns out that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country, so even the hostels there are pricey. The most cost effective hostel we found would have set us back $45 a day, so a three day stay would end up costing $135 just for accommodation, never mind food and leisure.

Given that we are going to be traveling for a year and our wallets have that fresh out of college emptiness, we decided not to stay in San Francisco for those three days. The problem was that in our eagerness to get going we purchased our plane tickets before we examined the cost of the hostel. Oops. We quickly formulated a new plan that involved us asking a friend if we could crash with his uncles out in LA for a few days. The uncles, Doug and Vince, have graciously accepted our proposition—an act of unfathomable kindness that I will struggle to repay.

With the plan changed we now had to cancel our flights to San Francisco. Luckily we were within the twenty-four hour refund period, so other than a two hour wait on the phone for a ten second conversation, everything went smoothly. We bought our new tickets to LAX (which were about twenty bucks cheaper, hey!) and our tickets from LAX to Osaka, our first and brief stop in Japan. Along with learning that San Francisco is expensive, we discovered that the flight from California to Japan is long—like, super long. We will have a short layover in Taipei, which will take us a solid thirteen hours to reach. From Taipei it’s a brief two hour flight to Osaka. Total time travel is expected to be eighteen hours.

The longest flight I’ve done so far was an eight hour flight from Montreal to London, which seemed like a long haul at the time, so doubling that number and coupling it with the fact that we will be flying into a country where English is not the primary language gives us a concoction of worry. It will be jarring, but we have a lot going for us to make the transition less sudden. We will be in Osaka just for a day, so we’ve rented out an Airbnb from a native English speaker who is teaching in Japan. Having someone who speaks both English and Japanese to help us adjust, even for a day, will be a real blessing.

After the day in Osaka we’re off to the city of Beppu, where we will be working in an international hostel for a month. All of this leading up to Beppu has pretty much been set in stone, so until we leave on August 19th, we’ll have to endure the tedious loomings that portend the journey.

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