In addition to a few standard questions we ask each other when we meet, like “what’s your name?” and “where are you from?”, I often get the following questions while traveling (i.e. now).
Question 1. What do you do back in Japan?
Question 2. Are you on a vacation?
It may seem easy enough to answer these questions like saying your name or where you are from, but I find it difficult to answer these questions without explaining my situation.
Here’s my situation.
I packed 99% of things I own into a 35l backpack and a messenger bag and I left Japan without any fixed plan of going back. Since I’m not based in Japan, Question 1 doesn’t make much sense in this case.
Having said that, when people ask you about what you do, they are asking about your profession, even though you can tell them whatever you want to tell them. I do, in fact, tell them that I do martial arts unless they specifically ask me about how I earn money.
Question 2 is tricky for me, because I don’t know what exactly it means to be on a vacation. No, I’m not on a business trip. That’s clear. But am I on a vacation? I guess what’s being assumed in this question is that I have a 9-to-5 job or that I am a student. (Side note: I am a student of life. I will never stop learning.)
Also, here’s a twist that you may or may not have known: I’m a freelance English-to-Japanese translator. It’s not always the case that I’m fully booked for a month or two, but when I have a project to work on, I’m working while being on the road. So, I’m not exactly on a vacation in a traditional sense.
But I’m happy this way. Having more flexibility and control over what I want to do would be great and I will work on it, but where I am right now is pretty good for me.
There’s no need for rushing. It may take a while, but I know I will get closer to where I’m heading.