Travel Day — the Journey Home from Hokkaido to Osaka

For the love of travel.

Vincent Van Patten
3 min readJan 18


For the love of travel. Photo of the author in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.

Today my best bud Mo and I are traveling from the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido to Osaka, a city on the central Japanese island of Honshu. We took a bus, a train, a plane where I write this now, and will take another train to make it home.

This sort of travel is normal in our modern world. Hundreds of years ago, the people of the north or wherever comprised the unexplored were a fable, a different kind, another world.

Now, we’re able to cross countries, borders, mountains and seas while drinking a beer high up in the sky in the span of a day.

In the sky, you soar through the clouds and you feel the force of the plane — a gentle, comforting roar — and you don’t really think about how absolutely insane it is to be plowing through the icy atmosphere at unimaginable speeds.

I’m surrounded by tons of people, and we’re on this adventure together, yet it feels so normal.

We’re moving through time and space and we’re all still perfect strangers, yet I can’t help but look down the aisle and notice how one girl’s reading anime on her phone, and the girl in front of me is looking at pictures of snowmen I presume she and her friends made that are very impressive and unique, and the lights come on and the world outside is dark and blue and misty. We’re almost there.

The flight attendant passes by advertising a coupon for a car, I think? And her demeanor makes me smile.

On the ground, on the train, we glided through barren forests and snow-draped plains. We passed over bridges and frosty rivers.

Friends the move. Captured by the author.

Down there, I can’t help but lean against the glass and watch as the landscape changes, because down there, I feel as if I’m a part of it, moving across it, and I’m often overwhelmed with emotion because I think, as I did today, this is it.

I’m here.

When traveling on the earth you pass homes and perhaps for an instant someone plowing snow with a shovel. You may see a man and their kid preparing to slide down a snowy hill on a sled, as I did traveling from Sapporo to the airport.

And that pulls at your heart, the feeling of solitude being on the train, the thoughts I have about the people out there and those in the train, a group of sleepy passengers, adults and kids caught in the sharp and golden noonday light.

The train. Photo by the author.

And then I see my brotha on the train chillen, and I think about how we’re on this thing, in this thing, together. And I smile. No matter what I’m thinking, contemplating, questioning, i feel okay again.

Travel is a miraculous thing.

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Vincent Van Patten

Exploring what lights my soul on fire ❤️‍🔥 Living in Japan. For my writing, podcast, photography and much more, check out