The idea of going to a brand new country for only 24 hours probably seems daunting, at best, to many of you. I would have to agree. Any place you want to go should be given the days it deserves to explore and understand the culture. I pride myself in my quick travel skills; being able to explore a city in just a few days. But I outdid myself this time: I went to Tokyo for 24 hours.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my grandfather was a pilot for United Airlines, many years ago. We still have the benefit of being on his companion passes. But when he passed away in February, I realized I had only 90 days to use the remainder of his passes. Since I am the only one in the family that uses them (crazy, right?) I decided I needed to try something wild and irrational. I had never flown abroad on them, and I wanted to try. Which then started the frantic search of finding a flight from Denver to… wherever. I could go anywhere I wanted.
I knew I wanted to try a new country that I had never been before. So after process of elimination, I basically picked Japan because:
- I had never been there
- It was one of the only direct flights United flew internationally from Denver
- The 10 hour flight time each way seemed doable, since I had done it on my way home from Vietnam last summer.
Simple as that. I packed a small backpack with a pair of pajamas, my laptop, camera, a Tokyo guidebook I borrowed from the library, and some toiletries so I would look somewhat presentable while in a foreign land for a day. I then listed myself on the flight, paid the $32 in taxes you apparently have to pay upfront to go internationally on the companion passes, and I went to the airport.
I didn’t really know what to expect, but honestly, it was so freaking easy. It was as if I was flying domestically, which I have done a million times before. This time, though, they just needed to make sure I had a passport. DUH! I sat at the gate and waited for them to call my name. As they were boarding the flight, they finally did:
DANIELLE NELSON, PLEASE SEE THE GATE AGENT
I was on! And even in an extra legroom seat! My boundless energy and excitement slightly terrified the people around me, I could just tell. What was I going to do when I got there? I had booked a hostel right before I left, knowing I could cancel if I didn’t get on. But how do I get there? Holy &^%&. I am going to Japan!
|a screenshot of how to get to my hostel. With no internet connection when I landed, this is all I had.
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