We Never Know How Things Will Go, and Ain’t That Beautiful

Perhaps what comes next will be far different, and far better, than we can possibly imagine.

Vincent Van Patten


Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto Japan. Photo of the author.

When I came home from my first visit to Japan in 2019, it was Christmas Eve and I was a shell of myself. That trip opened my eyes and heart, for I realized while traveling what I truly want to make of my life.

I want to be a full-time creator, exploring frontiers of meaning both out in the world and within myself. I crave an adventure of the heart and soul.

That vision of what I want and whom I long to be has guided me like my North Star ever since that first trip to Japan, where in a moment, everything changed.

My friends and I were sailing above Tokyo Bay; rain clouded the windows of the train; with the world around me dripping in silver, my mind smoldered with thoughts of potential.

I want to live here, I thought realistically for the first time.

I want to get out into the world permanently, and share how it makes me feel.

I returned home and could barely talk to my family because I felt so torn; I couldn’t explain what I’d experienced. I’d just had a taste of the adventure I crave, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to make that my life.

Where to start?

I didn’t know. But I kept questioning, writing, and looking for signs.

It’s been nearly four years, and the goal is the same.

Keep pushing into the unknown.

I’m home in Los Angeles for two weeks before heading back to Japan, where I’ll work until the end of the year as an English teacher. I’ve been living in Japan for over a year, and a page is turning.

I plan to move from Osaka to Tokyo to find a job as a writer, or at least a gig that inches me closer to my ideal life as a full-time storyteller and creator.

Last week, on my final day teaching at the school I worked (I’m gonna be a substitute for the next month when back in Japan), a mom and dad of two sisters I taught asked if I could take a picture with the girls.



Vincent Van Patten

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