Desperately Seeking Shinto - A Confused Atheist Finds Some Comfort in One of Japan's Most Famous Shrines

My trip to Japan couldn't have been more timely, even if it was brief. I was in dire need of a few 'mental health days', if only as a short break from the conflict that has inadvertently been made a part of my daily life for the unforeseeable future. Any solace to be found in spirituality and religion would be a bonus, albeit a bit of a reach as I oscillate between derisive atheism and fluctuating agnosticism. If I had to choose a faith that somewhat made sense to me, the closest candidate would be the Japanese ethnic religion - Shinto. 

Shinto, or kami-no-michi (Way of The Gods) is the belief in divine entities, kami - the sacred, spiritual essence that manifests in multiple forms. The closest English definition for kami is "gods", but kami is more nuanced than that - kami refers particularly to the power of phenomena that inspires a sense of wonder and awe in the beholder, a mystery so fearful and fascinating as to make it divine. Kami reside in all things - both animate and inanimate - and certain natural places such as mountains, trees, rivers, etc. are considered to have an unusually sacred spirit about them and are objects of worship. 

November 20, 2017

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

A city a day keeps the wanderlust at bay...

THE FINALE, DAY 20: RIVIERA REALNESS IN PORTOFINO, ITALY. Reminiscing the end of a mini era with a post about the Italian Riviera

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I pen this post, the final entry of my travel diary series 20 Days in 20 Cities and 6 Countries. Not just because writing these chapters has been the most fun I've had with Posh, Broke, & Bored this year; but also because this post marks the end of a era - travel-wise and also on a more personal level. At the ripe age of 31 I can hardly describe myself as being marked by "the loss of innocence" but even so, at every and any stage of life certain events bring with them upheavals of hitherto heaviness. Without going in to too much detail, you may have read between the lines from my presence on social media that I'm currently fighting some battles, hence the recent short blip from my blog. And I would've taken a longer break from writing, if not for my #TRAVELLINKUP sisters and brothers' posts about journeys reminding me that all is transient and that the only way is forward. So thank you for inspiring me to write this final chapter, to move forward, and to take one last look at my epic summer road trip across Austria, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Italy.

November 07, 2017


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