In Okinawa I met a couple in their early forties that were raising their children in a traditional one-room Okinawan house. They invited me in for tea, plucked a papaya from a tree in the back and served it, and we got to some basic conversation. I learned that both of them moved from Tokyo and to Okinawa to escape the urban rat race. Also they believed the beach, jungle, and country to be the best environment to raise a family. The husband, Toshi, sustains the family by working 3-days a week at a local castle doing tours. The wife, Hiromi, stays at home and spends time with the two young children. They both enjoy surfing whenever they can.
They have a clearly defined dream that they are actively realizing. They detached from the rat race and moved to the country. They have ample free time to spend with their growing family. In the mornings, I’d often spot Hiromi walking with her children on the beach. They surf as much as they can. They have an infinite supply of fresh fruit from the trees. They go net-fishing for sardines at the beach a minute’s walk away. Their overall living costs are minimal and sustainable. I asked if they had any plans to leave or move back to Tokyo and their response was quick and short. Never, they replied.
Their dream contrasts with mine. Part of my philosophy is to put out good work whether it be a piece of writing or a piece of technology. I want to have a greater reach than the small sphere that I directly influence. Toshi and Hiromi’s legacy is going to be their children, for whom they crafted a simple and elegant lifestyle near the beach. Their children will remember fondly playing in their coral sand yard and eating fresh papaya from the trees.
Traveling is fuel for idea synthesis. I was fortunate to have the chance to meet Toshi and Hiromi. They imparted me with the gift of fresh papaya, tea, and more importantly their approach to life. Exposure to differing approaches at life such as Toshi and Hiromi’s force me to consider different perspectives. I think of traveling as a life hack where I expose myself to a diverse set of contrasting philosophies. This gives me the reference material I need to shape my personal philosophy.