Winnie and her partner have been making their way through Japan. Starting from Fukuoka and working their way east. It’s been fun seeing her blog entries and photos. In one of her posts, Winnie talks about the stimulation she gets by traveling:
I had this epiphany (or re-epiphany) today on why I am less depressed when I travel. Apart from the obvious dopamine hits because there is novelty, travelling inevitably keeps my brain engaged because there is so much wayfinding, figuring things out, getting lost, decision-making, choosing of potential pathways, etc. At home, my country is so small and comfortable that I am living like a zombie, even if I consciously do not want to. My brain simply switches off because it is familiar with everything, it does not need to think. I seem to thrive in uncertainty even though it makes me very uncomfortable and anxious. I guess there’s different parts of my brain having different responses. - Winnie Lim: hiroshima, and keeping my brain engaged
For me, it’s been important to form a routine because it lets me curate my habits. Since I was young, I would get incredibly interested in something and build a routine around it. Then once that routine breaks, it’s like I’ve forgotten it ever existed. Even if that routine went on for months, I struggle to get back to it. When a good one sticks, I want to protect that. There’s an inner conflict of breaking my routines. The safety of the known. I wonder if fear of the past failed routines makes me overvalue routines that are currently sticking. But then there’s a dullness of the known. Reading Winnie’s post inspired me a bit. We had a holiday today. Rather than focus on a bunch of things we need to get done before the end of the year; we gave ourselves the day to explore. Get lost a little bit.
S and I rode the train to where we had our first date, and we wandered through random streets picking directions that roughly went towards the next station over. For the first time in a while, I brought my camera. Going out and taking pictures is great in the “engage with your environment” sense. You take time to look for things that catch your eye. Things that you typically ignore in the routine. Lighting, color, buildings, people. Lots of fun.
Houses in Tokyo have such a wild variety of being uniquely designed, very old, or copy-paste. Our walk today let us enjoy a good variety. Ending with some good curry at an Okinawan themed restaurant and a short break at a cafe. On our way back, we stumbled upon a small festival. It was a good day to get lost.