The Dilapidated Shrine—The Wanderer’s Sanctuary

One of my favorite things to do is to wander. To just listen to music and see where the road takes me. I think that is why I like traveling. I never know truly what is going to happen: the people I will meet, the places that I will see, and the things that I will do. It’s all a surprise.

For me, it’s hard to wander. I am a control freak. I like having a plan before I do something, then a back-up plan if the first plan doesn’t work out, and I also like to have a back-up plan for my back-up and so forth. In. the 21stcentury, it seems so easy to know what to do and how to do it. We live in the generation of the internet, where you can look up how to do or find almost everything in the world. But I am still searching. I do not know where to go or what to do. I have learned to wander.

A couple days after we arrived in Ishinomaki, I decided that I wanted to just walk. To just walk in the direction of the sun and feel the heat upon my face. The wind was blowing, and I was following. I ended up at a gate. Behind it, was several steep flights of stairs in the middle of a small forest that led to indeterminable location. I went up. I hadn’t come the whole away across the world to stand outside the gate to what would become my favorite place in all of Ishinomaki. As I walked up those stairs, my legs burning from the immense incline, something struck me. I was in Japan. I was over six-thousand miles away from my family and most of my friends and it was all just because I had opened up a random email on some seemingly humdrum day six months ago. If I hadn’t opened up that email and decided to apply to GIEU, I would not be in Japan today. You never know where the sun will take you. You never know where life will take you.

When I reached the top, I was taken aback by the sheer beauty in the peeling red paint and the overgrown grass. It was unquestionably an old, unpopular shrine. But for me, it was a place of silence that I could think—a place to escape the past and the future.

I think that I stayed at the shrine for over an hour. It was some of the most blissful moments of my entire life. To give some background, I am extremely extroverted. But sometimes even I need a break. Sometimes, I need to wander alone. There is a famous quote by J.R.R Tolkien that goes something like this, “not all those who wander are lost.” For me, I don’t think you can’t truly be lost if you have never been found. We are all just wandering.

One Reply to “The Dilapidated Shrine—The Wanderer’s Sanctuary”

  1. The photo looks like a shrine up on Haguro-san – what an amazing view! And how wonderful that your wandering took you there by chance. I hope you can travel – and wander – again… and find a few more unexpected moments of bliss.

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