Deep journeys. Trips that satisfy the excitement of the unknown


I don’t want to say I look at a travel guide when asked how I pick the destinations for my trips.

I prefer to slip in and spend time mixing it up with the locals rather than go around to famous tourist spots.

The trips I want to make time for aren’t about finding myself or getting some nice scenes to post on Instagram; they’re journeys of learning that will output directly into the real ways in which I live and work. I guess what I’m getting at is that I want to sate this endless intellectual curiosity of mine that comes from who knows where.

For example, Onomichi to Shimanami-kaido and then the line to Imagari is surely one of the most common trips to take in the Setouchi area now. I want to try it, too, of course. But, my urge to “travel more deeply” leads me to trace new paths on the map rolled out in my head. With these routes I want to get a feel for what it’s like to spend time living amongst the locals, meeting people who have put down roots there, chasing down the memories of towns and getting a view of the future they’ve drawn for themselves.

The shinkansen stops at Fukuyama Station. Though not often chosen as a starting point for travel, Fukuyama is smack-dab in the middle of the Hiroshima coast overlooking the inland sea, making it easily accessible from many areas. It’s optimally positioned as an entryway to Setouchi.

“Wouldn’t it be possible to draw a deep line from here right out into the inland sea?”

That hypothesis is where the idea for the Setouchi deep line began.

This is an example of the kind of line I tried.

Fukuyama → Mukaishima → Innoshima → Ikuchijima → Omishima → Osakikamijima → Osakishimojima → Teshima → Kamikamagarijima → Shimokamagarijima → Kure.

It was a route that crossed the Shimanami-kaido and Tobishima-kaido. Just drawing the line on the map got me excited as I did some investigating to see if I could make it all the way across by switching between buses and boats. And the thing is, while there isn’t much information on these areas out there compared to the likes of Onomichi, Kurashiki, Shodoshima, and Naoshima, the more I looked into it, bit-by-bit I uncovered data on towns, lifestyles, and professions I wanted to see, as well as people I wanted to meet.

Ah, that fuzzy feeling of going off to encounter lands I’ve never seen.

That’s why I can’t quit traveling.

Translation: Luke Baker