This is a long, personal post. It's something of a venting therapy for me. As always, skip down to the Redpants Updates if you want to see what’s new.
The Wonders of Wandering
I got a massive amount of feedback from my last blog post - incredible, supportive, understanding, and oftentimes very personal feedback. I only replied to a couple of them, but I did read every single one of them at least a couple times each. I wanted to respond. I just… couldn’t. I’ve been in a rather anti-social mood lately and talking even via keyboard has proven quite the struggle.
When it came time to put on my big boy pants and say something, it wasn’t hard to come up with what to say. I’ve got Google for that.
I'll admit, that was quite literally the second quote I came across when I googled "famous quotes about finding yourself" to prep for this blog post. But I didn't choose it out of laziness; it just happens to be perfect for this situation.
I've always loved to travel. In fact, I get stir crazy when I don't get out of town frequently enough. At one point while wallowing in my own recent self-pity, I looked up plane tickets to go to the one place I knew I'd find some sort of solace - Japan. To my surprise the tickets were less than $900 round trip. I booked them on the spot.
Afterwards I had something of a notion that I was just running away from my problems. Several people had told me to keep fighting for Clare and not give up. I felt like I was giving up that fight by going to Japan, and I'm running away from my problems. But what if this is what I need? What if, for me, this is the general reset of one's life that can only come from making a choice to do what instinct says must be done?
That brings us back to that quote: A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
My whole life has been something of a haphazard affair. Do what needs to be done to get to the next step with some semblance of a plan for a few more hopefully-forward steps. It's paid off rather well so far - I've got a great life. But at the same time there's this nagging notion that I need to make a drastic change if I'm going to find true happiness. I’ve wondered a wonderful path thus far, but I haven’t quite gotten where I want to be.
Japan has been my happy place since I first visited that country in 2009. It’s the one place I could visit and just enjoy being there without any itinerary. A while back I'd half-jokingly said to Clare that if we ever broke up, I'd sell everything and move over there.
Well, fuck... here we are.
I'm not going to move just yet, if at all. I'm a daydreamer (always have been) but I’m also a realist. I think the house I have now could be a forever home - I'm not taking it for granted and I won't give it up so easily. I also know that living in a place is very different than vacationing there. So don't worry, I'm still here.
That being said, I know the value of detaching oneself from life from time to time, and that's what I intend to do.
My trip to Japan is going to be a journey of rediscovery, contemplation, and getting my life back on track. There's so much more I want to do, but I struggle focusing on one thing at a time. I've got a couple dozen half-finished articles, DIY guides, and modification guides still needing to be finished, and tons of stuff I haven’t even started on. I just can’t concentrate on any one of them long enough to make any meaningful progress. I purposely planned my trip to Japan with clarity of mind, uh, in mind.
I'll be splitting the 10-day trip across four cities. As far as vacations go, it’s very inefficient as I’ll be spending a lot of time on trains. This was intentional, though, because it’ll force me to sit there and relax, staring out at the countryside, and hopefully clear my mind. It will also provide me with ample time to write about the trip, which I’ll be documenting for Redpants Unzipped.
The four cities I’m visiting are Utsunomiya, Sendai, Tokyo, and Osaka.
Ustunomiya is famous for its gyoza and is the closest major city to Twin Ring Motegi, which is where a Super GT race will be held while I'm there - and yes, I'll be at the race! Sendai, known for grilled beef tongue, is next to Matsushima Bay, site of one of the Three Views of Japan. There's also a town called Shiogama next to Sendai, which is on Matsushima Bay and has the most sushi restaurants per capita in all of Japan.
From there I'll be going to Tokyo to meet up with my buddy Eric. He's one of my best friends, and has pulled me out of some shit in my past (we celebrated my recovery by going to Japan - his first of MANY trips). It turns out he'll be in Japan at the same time as me - he's attending a concert in Tokyo with a group of friends. I had wanted to spend my birthday alone. Comfort in solitude, that sort of thing. Also just me being depressed and anti-social. But he insisted it be good for me to be with friends, and I know he’s right.
After a couple nights in Tokyo I’ll be going to Osaka to see a concert. One of my favorite bands is playing there and I extended my trip just to see them. As cool as that sounds, there's no guarantee I'll actually get to see them - Japan has a ticketing system for events that can be a bit tricky. In the US, we know we can get into any concert, but we'll be screwed on ticket pricing in the process. In Japan, they try to prevent that. So even though I'm willing to pay nearly $300 for a general admission for a single concert ticket, there's no guarantee that investment (gamble?) will actually pay off. It's a risk I'm willing to take, though.
I'll be making the long trek back to Florida directly from Osaka. Shinkansen in the morning straight to Narita, then the flight back to Orlando. Back to reality.
Back to an empty house.
It’s going to be hard to hold myself together when I step through my front door. I expect it’ll be the moment when the situation really hits home. (Excuse the pun. Or don’t… it was terrible.) My goal while in Japan is to find the inner peace I need to be able to handle the loneliness I’ll inevitably face when I return.
I’m feeling surprisingly confident about it. Not happy by any means, but at least confident that I’ll be able to manage moving in the right direction. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I plan to try my hand at it. (As long as I’m not writing puns, because these are so, so bad.)
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.
I've been getting resituated with taking over what Clare has been doing for Redpants, so orders shouldn't see much or any delay being processed. I've also gotten back on top of inventory management, so the occasionally sold-out common items, like oil change packages, should be kept stocked up from here on out. Hopefully.
There are two things I'm going to struggle with, though.
First is that I won't be able to keep on top of special orders (specifically, non-listed items) as quickly as Clare. It may be a day or so of extra processing time as I'll be stretched pretty thin and the time it takes to handle those adds up quickly.
Second is that I need to start with a blank slate on emails. During the last few weeks I've haven't been able to keep up with emails. As a result, I've got 550 unread emails that have built up over the last month - yes, that's a real number and not an exaggeration. There's no way I can go back through them all, so I'm going to start over. If you've sent me an email and never heard back but still need a response, please resend it. If you've moved on, I understand and I'm sorry for letting you down.
I’ve added the option to buy 5-packs of the various items in the Fasteners section of the online store. I have more fasteners that have yet to be added to the store, so keep an eye out for those as I create more listings.
A customer recently asked if I could include a second throttle body o-ring with the Oil Change Package he wanted to buy for his DB9. I explained only one was needed, but he said he wanted a second one because he cleans both throttle bodies during each oil change. It’s a great idea to do that (for all cars, not just the DB9), so I created the new listing for the o-ring and also wanted to pass along that bit of recommended preventative maintenance.
The most recent of many delays on the Exterior Lighting Packages was due to a rare hiccup - the manufacturer had relocated and I didn’t realize it, so when I sent inventory back to be redone, it went to their previous site. These ARE being worked on and will be available again. I swear they'll be the death of me, but at this point it’s a matter of me being more stubborn than sane.
I’m planning to sell my red V8 Vantage project car for $45k. There are a few things that need to be fixed and I’m happy to go over it with prospective buyers, including discounts on parts for whatever the buyer wants to do for repairs, upgrades, alterations, etc.
Redpants will be closed during mid-November while I’m away in Japan. Any orders received during that time will be shipped when I get back.