Buying a house is a thrilling and terrifying experience. Everyone talks about how great it is to have your own place. No one tells you about buyer’s remorse, the cold sweats at night, the sudden realization that you are an adult and don’t even know how to paint a wall, the to-do lists and startling number of zeros that each item adds. The current coronavirus situation only compounds the problem with my tour businesses, this year at least, going down the proverbial drainage pipes (yet another item on my list to fix).
My seed of doubt comes from the fact that I could probably happily travel forever. I like some places better than others, but I don’t typically feel the need to return to one place for long. Even though I live and keep coming back to Japan, I travel all over the country. When I’m not traveling in Japan, I’m probably traveling somewhere else in the world. Last year, I spent only one month entirely in Japan, every other month I spent at least a few days overseas. When I reflect on my guiding and globe-trotting lifestyle, one side of me thinks that I could do this forever because it doesn’t feel like work. The planning and organizing feel like work, but not the traveling itself.
At the same time, even seabirds need a place to land. I love returning to Nagano at the end of a tour. I sit down in my armchair, crack open a beer, and revel in the feeling of having absolutely nothing to do. No matter how tired I am or how hard the job was, that moment of satisfaction makes the long days worthwhile. The main reason I’ve even had an apartment over the last few years is for those few days a month I spend at home.
In the end, there were a few other reasons that convinced me to buy my house. First, I want people from all eras of my life to visit me in Japan. Living in a one bedroom apartment makes that difficult, although I did put my brother on an air mattress in the closet when he came snowboarding in February. Also, renting an apartment is a waste of money, even though it’s a smaller chunk each month than paying for a house upfront. If I’m going to live there a long time, it made more sense to buy. Real estate prices in Japan are not rising, but at least now I’m not throwing away money on rent. Finally, I want to turn my house into a couple of other business. The virus has made me realize that diversification is crucial. Being right next to the Snow Monkey Park and 20 minutes from a ski resort, I’m going to try my hand at AirBnB. I will also host my snowshoe and hiking customers for Active Travel Japan. I’m going to sell T-shirts online to the Asian pickleball market too. And I want to do pickleball camps for people all over Asia, training them up to compete against the best in the world.
For all those reasons, I’m excited to announce that I am a proud (and nervous) home owner. It’s scary right now because the whole world is in a difficult situation and that makes me wonder if I made the right decision. But I know things will improve and with that, I hope the confidence that I made the right choice.
To join one of my tours or see the things I’m talking about for yourself, visit activetraveljapan.com or pickleballtrips.com and join us for the trip of a lifetime. We have tours for every season 😉 AirBnB website coming soon!