When I was bored of seeing the tourist sights in Kyoto, I thought I broke my wanderlust. You see, when I just arrived, I made a looong list of stuff I want to do. Yes, a long list of thirty things, here:
- Fushimi Inari prayers
- Imperial Palace
- Higashiyama walks - day + night
- Arashiyama boat ride
- Arashiyama bamboo forest?
- Dragon painting at Kenninji temple
- Lunch at Nikishi market
- Picnic by Kamo River
- Scavenge at Kamo River
- Run at Kamo River
- Walk down Ishibe Alley
- Visit Nijo Castle
- See moss garden at Gio-ji temple
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple and cafe nearby
- Philosopher's Walk and temples
- Visit Kyoto U
- Visit design musuem
- Visit MTRL Kyoto
- Sakura by night photography
- Night walk in Gion-Shijo
- Take Romantic Train from Umahori to Saga-Arashiyama
- Take Kyotrain Garaku (Osaka<>Kyoto) by Hankyu Railways to view sakura
- Osaka castle sakura
- Take Japanese language classes at Kyoto City International Foundation
- Maiko dance events in Miyagawacho and Kamisichiken
- Higashiyama Hanatouro light up
- Take wagashi class?
- Shop for wagashi?
- Shop at kintsugi shops
- Visit places in Secret Lives of Kyoto Folk
But now, it's the last day of my 3-week stay, and I'd only managed to do a few things on that list. And even after I did them, I didn't quite 100% enjoy it. Instead, here's the list of stuff I really enjoyed doing:
- Taking the local bus and trains
- Doing kintsugi every morning
- Drinking coffee at the local cafe
- Grocery runs to the nearby supermarket and 100yen shop
- Window shopping at the neighbourhood market street
- Cycling through the hood
- Eating at local food joints
- Hanging out at the park by the river
- Going for morning runs
When I compared the lists side by side, when I reflected on what constituted a perfect day here in Kyoto, the conclusion hit me like a brick.
I love living here, not traveling here.
It's not that my wanderlust is broken. It's more like where and how I travel had changed, unknowingly. I choose destinations where I want to live and work in, like a local. Places where I enjoy doing mundane, everyday stuff.
And it was the exact same experience back in December last year when I was in Ubud for 1 month. Same mind vs body tug of war, between "I should really be seeing more sights" vs "I just enjoy doing this mundane shit and chillaxing."
The extraordinary in the everyday, the magic in the simple. That's how I want to do it from now.