It’s time. The suitcases are packed, sitting at the top of the stairs. Tess is in the shower and I’m tying up loose ends at work. My heart is racing! I’m so excited! I’ve traveled my whole life, we moved a lot as a kid, we moved a lot in our married life. In between we explored our new worlds. But now? This time? This is an incredibly foreign trip. This is Japan!

I speak about five words in Japanese and two phrases. All of it just terrible. Tess has been studying Japanese on her own for 2-3 years. The Duo Lingo app has been running overtime in the last month. I’ve never had to rely on one of my kids to lead the way, I’m nervous and excited all rolled into one.

We are staying in a Ryokan (a traditonal inn) in one of the outer wards of Tokyo. I am not a fan of big cities, and I am a big fan of getting as close to the culture as possible. It does mean less chance of people speaking English or German or Dutch… maybe sign language? I feel out of my comfort zone and yet so excited.

I woke up to another email from my dad. He’s so worried about the coronavirus. I can’t say I’m not. I checked the CDC, WHO & state department websites for travel advisories. As of right now, the US, Japan & Germany all have approximately the same number of cases. It’s a handful. It’s so small. Still, all the news does inspire fear.

Tess & I have disposable surgical masks. We have a gallon of hand sanitizer. We even have gloves. We have been taking our elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) in preparation of travel. It is one of the few herbal remedies with scientific trails backing up its efficacy. It’s not magic, but it’s another tool in the box.

Most of me is not worried. The other .256 percent can’t stop playing movies like Virus, Pandemic, Contagion over & over in my head. What if it does spread? What if Tess & I get stuck in Japan? I mean, it’s Japan. That’s not so terrible. But it is half a planet from Dave & Dane. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t worry.

And then. The other thing. The case of the missing GoPro. We found all the bits. The cables, the accesories. All the things! Except the GoPro. It’s skedaddled. It’s hiding. Now I won’t be able to video our epic Mario Kart drive through the streets of Tokyo. How is that even a thing? An IRL (in real life) Mario Kart adventure! It’s our #1 thing (after cat cafe’s, anime & sushi) we want to do. Real. Life. Mario. Kart.

This is an adventure of a lifetime. Are you ready for us Japan?