On Adventuring

I am not an adventurous person. Oh, yes, I will try new foods or new teas, or even put snails on my face. But when it comes to venturing outside my own house or neighborhood? Not so adventurous. My anxiety spiked when I took a new job that required a one-hour commute into the city rather than a 15-minute drive in my nice, familiar suburb. And the other thing I don’t often is travel.

Now, to be fair, until recently I’ve worked in a field where people at my level don’t get paid enough to travel much on their own dime and where it’s typical to only take time off to visit family once or twice a year. But there are plenty of people who find opportunities to go to international meetings. My ex-husband found himself invited to at least one international meeting per year and I did take the opportunity to travel with him when we were together. And it was a nice easing into the idea of travel because he took care of all the arrangements, but I was still left with eight or nine hours to fill by myself in a strange city where I may or may not speak the language well.

But even then, I tended to stick with European destinations for international travel. It’s my comfort zone. I speak fluent French and the other romance languages come pretty easily to me. And I’ve never really planned an international trip myself.

So this year, my new year’s resolution was to travel somewhere outside the country. And it seemed like it was going to be deferred, until Boyfriend and I decided that our vacation after his graduation didn’t have to be to a comfortable place we’d been before. So I started looking into planning a trip to Montreal — not exactly exotic, but it requires passports and may even put some of my rusty French into use. And it’s placing a toe outside my comfort zone.

Which is a first step.

Because I’ve decided that next year, I want to take a trip entirely outside my comfort zone. I’ve decided to visit Japan.

To that end, I’ve spent the last week learning hiragana and katakana, and even started a kanji study program, as well as lessons in speaking Japanese. I had forgotten how much I love learning new languages (I briefly studied Latin, German, and Romanian in the past, as well as picking up some Italian for a couple trips there). It feels like exercise for my brain. And I’ve been learning about the customs and culture, from the perspective of a visitor. It’s an exciting plan, and I hope to realize it next year. It will certainly be a bigger step in getting me out of my shell.

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5 thoughts on “On Adventuring

  1. Do you mean Roman languages? I like the idea of romance languages better, but then you’d have to explain what you mean because I have never heard of them ^^.
    I wish you an awesome time in Montreal, it’s always exciting and a little bit terrifying to do something outside of your comfort zone. Thank you for writing about this stuff as well, it’s why I like your blog so much.

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    • Actually “romance languages” are the European languages derived from the spoken Latin of the Roman Empire. Thanks for the well wishes and I’m glad you enjoy my writing about my nerves 🙂

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      • Thank you for that explanation, I’m not an English native speaker, so sometimes expressions like that puzzle me. Is that term used for other aspects as well or only for language? For example, we also say that the inhabitants of e.g. Italy, France and Spain are “Roman” peoples. Would the English term be “romance” in that case too? Sorry if that question is annoying, I’m just curious about languages.

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      • As far as I know, it’s just the languages that are called “romance.” Also, Romanian is a romance language, which surprised me, but when I toyed with learning it, I discovered it’s actually a lot closer to Latin than the other three I’d encountered.

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  2. That’s interesting to hear, it’s always funny to see the “false friends” in a language. Especially since in this case, some things are referred to as Latin and some as romance in my language, but it seems to be different from English.

    Yes, Romanian comes as a surprise to many, probably because you don’t usually associate eastern Europe with ancient Rome, but it’s more closely related to Latin and Italian than the languages spoken in its neighboring countries.

    It’s a bit like Hungarian, Turkish and Finnish. You’d think Finnish would be a Scandinavian language, but it’s actually part of a whole different family.

    How did you learn the foreign languages you speak? Did you take classes in school? I’m a bit sad I wasn’t able to learn more languages in school but here you have to decide in fourth grade what track you take and my parents didn’t have the foresight to send me to a school with a modern languages track. But I do love science too so I can’t complain.

    Thanks again for your patience! ^^

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