Last summer I worked on a train in Alaska. Contrary to common belief, it wasn’t that cold at all. It wasn’t beach weather either. So, at the end of September a week in Hawaii had to make up for 4 months in the Last Frontier. The waiting was totally worth it and I had an awesome island experience, but I was left wanting more. I have a strong deficiency of vitamin ‘sea’…
My mom is from a city on the Black Sea Coast. I used to basically live there from May to October every year when I was little. Sadly, the last few years I cannot even get to the sea… Last summer it was Alaska. Summer of 2014 I spent at the office, previous one – working, studying, moving to Portugal and so on.
I came back home from the States in October. The weather was already chilly and cold. I started daydreaming about sunny days, heart-shaped sunglasses, sandy beaches and flip flops… A friend of mine came up with a rescue idea – let’s plan a winter-getaway trip to an exotic island! Deal! I was all for it! We planned for February – we’d already be sick of winter, I’d have passed my exam and I’d still have the money… The timing was right.
Until one evening… just before a family dinner, I got a message from my friend. She was euphoric. One of the biggest airlines flying east had a huge discount – more than 40% off flights to Asia is A BIG DEAL, you know! My friend filled me in – her all-time dream destination has always been Japan and now she could actually make it come true. I was speechless for a moment. So…no beach for me, no sea, no sand, no bikini and flip flops, nor coconut cocktails and exotic fruit… at least it was still an island.
I kind of fell for the Japan idea though. Japan! It had never crossed my mind. What did I know about the country? Sushi, kimonos, ancient traditions, The Memoirs of a Geisha, not much. Yet I was thrilled. It sounded exciting, distant, unknown. Exactly what I needed! Therefore, I just said “yes”.
In about 10 minutes I sat at the dinner table.
“I bought a plane ticket to Japan.”
“Oh good for you, darling, would like some salad?”
They never take me seriously…
Anyway, step number 1 – CHECK! We booked flights with Qatar Airways. We would fly out of Sofia, have a layover in Doha, Qatar and arrive at one of Tokyo’s international airports – Haneda. The dates were random; however, we hoped for warmer weather and did plan to catch at least a glimpse of the cherry blossom season. Every travel guide would tell you the best time to visit Japan is spring – March and April. Once more, perfect timing. So… the planning and waiting could begin!