Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The long way home

It’s hard to believe a whole year has come and gone. But it has and now it’s time to move on. Back to the place I left one year ago.

I’m not ready to leave Japan. I feel like I’m going home way too soon. And so I’ve been packing my bags and saying my goodbyes with a heavy heart and deep regret.

I’m not ready to get on the train tomorrow and leave my life here behind forever. To look out the window and see the people I’ve grown so attached to waving goodbye on the other side of the glass. To watch them get smaller and smaller as the train pulls out of the station and picks up speed. To know I may never see them again.

It doesn’t get much sadder than that.

At least I can take comfort in knowing it will be almost two months before I return to Canada. Taking the long way home will give me time to reflect on my year in Japan and help lessen the pain of leaving.

So I’ve decided to finally take the trip I’ve dreamed of taking for the past 10 years. I’m taking the train clear across the world’s largest continent, all the way from Beijing to Moscow.

To get to China, I will take the two-day ferry that runs between Osaka and Shanghai. After a few days in Shanghai, I will take the overnight train to Beijing.

Normally, the journey between Beijing and Moscow takes about six and a half days. But that’s only if you don’t get off the train. I’m stretching the ride out to about 25 days by stopping in Mongolia, Siberia and Russia along the way.

Afterwards, I’ll spend a week in Moscow and St. Petersburg before flying to Paris, where I’ve rented an apartment for two weeks. It will be nice to stay in one place for a little while after more than a month of constant traveling. Especially when that place has an abundance of bread and wine and chocolate and cheese. Assuming all goes well, I’ll be back in Vancouver on October 1st.

So this is it. My last post from Japan. I can’t believe it’s really ending . . .

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