The Risk is Always Worth It.

Playing with a baby tiger at Tiger Temple in Thailand during Christmas Vacation from teaching in Japan.

“The risk is always worth it,” my brother said to me two years ago when I was about to embark on my first real adventure: teaching for one year in Japan. A country I had barely been exposed to. To top it off, the little bit of Japanese I knew could scarcely be considered a newbie’s understanding. I had never left the states before. When I heard my brother say, “the risk is always worth it,” I realized life without risk life was not one worth living. The comfort in constants, in “ it always working out,” was no comfort at all. I packed my belongings into two suitcases, left a cute and talented crush behind in Boston, waved farewell to my family, and walked into the unknown. Nearly two years later, I have not looked back. Despite the many trials and even plagues with depression that I’ve had to over come, I have never regretted the risk.

There has always been one constant truth: beyond any shadow of a doubt, the risk has always been worth it.

Cute and talented boy’s shoes lying next to mine in the end of summer.

However, the pay off is not always instantaneous. Six months ago I moved to L.A. and began working (not living) at a hostel. Since then I’ve become bored, lost even. My most cherished loves: writing, art, and traveling seemed forgotten. Snarled in the confusion of where other cavities of my heart lie, I was lost in a chaos of uselessness. That is until the other day.

My students in Tosashimizu.

As a love of mine pulled me in for a hug during my lunch hour, I silently, semi-unexpectedly broke down. Those of you who know me, know I do not easily cry in the open. And above all, would never melt down at work. Most of you have probably never seen a tear from me. I had been filled with too much stress about necessities in life that do not matter. That stressed seeped through my seams. In this case, those seams happened to be my tear ducts. I forgot the risk. Tangled in my friends arms, he forced me to face him, demanded my reluctant eyes meet his and said, “This is the hard part.” Later, I gathered my thoughts, drank a bottle of Charles Shaw, “got Cali on it,” and woke up the next day a bit more centered.

Bombay Beach, CA

I want to find my way back to the thing I love most, writing. This blog is my solution. It is my get-back-to-it venture, a writing challenge, and a chance for me to share all the glory and vigor of California and the treasures I find in places I travel to.

It will be about the hidden art, forgotten corners, and the bits not so often looked for. These are the things you’ll miss if you blink too quickly or if you never take the risk in finding out. The beautiful, the brilliant, and the ugly thrive within the barriers of this world and far outside the confinements of convention. There are millions of people living beyond their means just to do what they love. The pipe dreamers will not be welcomed. I will be brutal and honest about real people, real places. And yes, even the ugly. I’ll find all the hideouts. Again, I will be honest and brutal. These are elements I have become known for, loved for, and at times, detested for. But the only way to show the world to anyone is to present it as honestly as you see it. Present it true, ugly, beaten, broken, and mended. This sort of honesty does not mark the world with fact, but with a simple variation of truth. In this case, my variation.

The morning after Thanksgiving 2010 at my house in Tosashimizu, Kochi-ken, Japan

In my adventures, I have met so many wonderful people throughout the world and have seen beautiful, desolate places. It’s high time I share it.

If “this is the hard part” I’m making it count.

Until then, I’ll be seeing you,

                                       Panda

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One response to “The Risk is Always Worth It.

  1. Looking forward to more! It’s not a crime to cry! It is cathartic and restorative. It will get your ass in gear when you shed a tear!

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