Travel as medicine: how Japan got me over a broken leg

I survived!

No-one is more surprised than me….but first, let me explain.

Japan, to say the least, was an impromptu trip. As of mid-January, I’d been on crutches for almost two and a half months, which had whittled my social life down to the movie nights, dinner parties and booze fests that I could host in my shoebox. Gone were the dinners out, the nights dancing, the days exploring Seoul.

It was lame.

So imagine my reaction when my doctor, for the third time, told me that I’d have to stay crutches on for an additional few weeks.


I was ready to assault something, most likely with the crutches themselves.

Instead, I angrily swooped on the computer, looked up the cheapest tickets out of Seoul, and booked a trip to Japan. I may have had to deal with crutches for three months, but the moment I was given the OK to start walking again, I was going on an adventure.*

(Or, at least, a practice run.)

Now, I realise this may not have been the most prudent decision, but I can be pretty stubborn sometimes – especially once I have a travel plan in my head. And I was frustrated and suffering from serious cabin-fever! Even if I only got the go-ahead to start walking a day before my flight, I was determined to go.

Foolish, maybe. Reckless, probably. But as it turns out…

Japan was exactly what I needed. It was close enough that I could get there in the span of a morning, straight-forward enough that I could travel without over-thinking logistics, and similar enough to Korea that I didn’t have to worry about navigating a completely alien culture in addition to dealing with a gimpy leg.

Best of all, Osaka – where I based my stay – is a huge bike town, which wound up being the perfect way for me to get around!

The trip wound up being a lot of relaxed exploring. Cafe neighborhoods, long meals out, gallery hopping, and simple hanging out constituted the majority of my time in Japan. I stayed with some amazing people and had some pretty novel experiences (staying in the red light district and learning Japanese drinking games over hotpot stand out in particular).

I took it easy, never rushed, and simply focused on exploring at my own pace.

I got stronger, more steady back on two legs, and regained the confidence that, yes, I can do this. I can walk. (and that I hadn’t made a dire medical mistake)

So thank you, Japan, for being the best kind of medicine! For getting me walking again, for reminding me how to explore, for showing me how to move on from three months of stupifying stagnation!

Because in just two days, I’m going somewhere that will test me much harsher than an East Asia neighbour…

Have you ever gone on a trip even when you knew it might be a bad idea?

* this is not suggested for everyone. but hey, all’s well that ends well!


15 Responses to Travel as medicine: how Japan got me over a broken leg

  1. Kirstin 11 February, 2012 at 01:34 #

    Way to build the suspense, where are you going in two days?!?!?!?!?!

  2. Ellie 11 February, 2012 at 20:51 #

    Wow Japan looks amazing girl, doing what you love and do best always makes you fell like yourself again, can’t wait to hear about this new secret place your going.. When you eased to Thailand :)

    • na-o-mi 20 March, 2012 at 10:15 #

      Soon enough…soon enough!! (:

  3. Jill 11 February, 2012 at 20:58 #

    I’m glad your trip was a success! Congrats for being back on two legs!

    • na-o-mi 20 March, 2012 at 10:15 #

      Thank you dearly…it’s definitely a relief!!

  4. Emme Rogers 13 February, 2012 at 02:39 #

    Good for you and glad to hear that you are well on the mend!

  5. Tee 27 March, 2012 at 12:55 #

    If I make it to Osaka, I will have to take a picture with that Glico man- he’s like the symbol of Osaka!

    I’m curious where you’re headed…it sounds a little spooky.

  6. Kiki 30 August, 2013 at 03:58 #

    I had to laugh when I saw this title. It was touch and go for me last fall when I sprained my foot in ballet class just weeks before my 2 week trip to Japan. I had to bring my most frumpy shoes and in every pic you can see my wrapping tape and supports. I made it way worse but no regrets!

    This summer I took it up a notch and completely tore a ligament on the same foot (when will I learn I’m way too old to play ballerina!) So I can commiserate about spending months on the sofa with a giant plastic boot. But with no dance classes to attend every night, and in need of a new hobby, I started my own travel-ish blog and uncovered a whole world of blogs out there I never knew about, like yours!
    Great post I look forward to reading more!

    • Naomi Alyssa 3 September, 2013 at 12:02 #

      Well, where one door closes!! That’s fantastic that you still got to go to Japan, and that you started a blog with the time off…when I first broke my leg and was house-bound for two weeks, I completely redid my theme ;)

      • Kiki (aka Kristin) 9 October, 2013 at 06:49 #


        Fantastic meeting you IRL at TBEX! I just went through my cards and clicked through and realized I already had your site bookmarked! You have such a fun and well-written blog, I am looking forward to reading more! Hope to cross paths again.


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