A Lesson Learned in Japan

I’ve been to some really cool places in the world and experienced some fantastic things with some amazing people and Learned an awful lot, both about myself and the world. So in this blog series i’m going to tell you a little bit about some of the places and some of the lessons.

I was bitten by the travel bug when I went to Japan in 2015 to a World Scout Jamboree. I travelled 5,843 miles with 39 fellow Scouts to the other side of the world, and I travelled abroad for the first time without my parents. Don’t get me wrong i’ve been away for up to a week at a time without my parents but never for three weeks and never so far away. I was Sixteen when I set off on July 25th and landed back in newcastle Airport the day after my 17th birthday a changed young girl.

I experienced such a range of emotions whilst at the Jamboree and one massive learning curve that has always stuck with me… So here is how I came about learning this lesson.

We’d been on the actual Jamboree site for around 3 days, but we’d just finished the first day of official activities. Patrol 3 had been on the Science village activity which to be quite frank I didn’t think i’d like but you get out what you put in so i took each activity as it came and in the end had a fantastic day. I’d come away with some awesome old school pictures of my Patrol and a present for my dad. While I had a great day, I was tired and it wasn’t even four in the afternoon yet. We were all tired, we were all sweaty but we were mostly all happy.

That day it was our job to keep the site clean which was one of the easier jobs (The other three were water management, cooking, and cleaning…EW) All we had to do was pick any litter up around our fairly small site and ensure it was disposed of properly. With there being 9 of us in the patrol we could all pick around 5 items up and the job was done, so I suggested we do it as soon as we got back to the site and then we could relax until tea. Everyone agreed apart from one person.

This particular person had complained most of the day about things that were affecting all of us. Things like the heat, the queues and complaining that they didn’t like an activity. We’d  all payed over £3000 to be there, we all felt the 50 degree sun beat down on us, we were all tired and we were all fed up with the constant unnecessary whining.

we got back to the site and everyone set about picking up the litter apart from said person, who took a seat at one of the tables we were tidying round.

“Come on please, just pick 5 things up and then we’re done, you can sit down and relax” I asked, in a fairly polite way.

“No, I’m sitting down” they responded.

“Just get up and stop being selfish for crying out loud” Yeah I was getting reeaallly angry.

“Nope” and with that they swivelled round and ignored me, and that was it. I leaned over the table to whisper in my friends ear “If said person doesn’t pick something up off the floor like the rest of us are doing i’m going to lose it” and so before I lost it, I Took myself away from the situation. I don’t know where I was headed but I just needed to get away and have some time for myself to calm down.

I’m a crier when i’m angry, I would never dream of lashing out and hurting someone out of anger and so I cry, and I hate that I cry, but I do and that’s that.

The tears were brimming while I walked away from the campsite as the rest of the unit we’re returning.

“Are, you okay Beth?” I heard a voice say. I looked up to see my unit leader. And for the first time, I think, ever, I said no. No I wasn’t alright. I was at my absolute whits end and i’d worked so hard to come on this trip, been given a second chance, made some amazing friends, was in Japan with my Boyfriend, and this was the only thing going wrong and I seemed to be the only one trying to fix it.

It hadn’t gone unnoticed that tis particular person in my patrol has caused a lot of problems within the whole unit, both in the run up to and for the duration of the trip so far and since I was the patrol leader of the patrol they were in and I was really the only person you could class as a friend that he had, he was basically my responsibility. I was damage control when it came to this person and their actions.

My Unit leader and I had a talk for around 30 minutes. We stood about two arms lengths apart (Because you know, scouts yellow card for safeguarding and all that) and I broke down while telling him what I was feeling about everything and he let me cry, he didn’t console me, he stayed exactly where he was and let me talk without interruption, he listened.


And then it was his turn to talk. He talked for a while and said a lot of things that resonated with me but the one thing that he said to me that i’ll always remember was “You need to decide to be selfish sometimes. Not all the time, and you have to choose the the right time, but you need to think about whats best for you sometimes” He explained to me that I was chosen as a patrol leader for a reason and he told me that I was doing a fantastic job and that I was well like and that sometimes, especially on a trip like this, I had to be selfish because I deserved to do some things for me.

And it might not seem like much, and it might not seem like such a life lesson to some, but for me at the age of 16, taking being a patrol leader all too seriously, it was exactly what I needed. And to this day when making decisions, something i think to myself is, ‘It’s alright to be selfish sometimes’

I’m still the kind of person to absolutely put myself out because it’s convenient for someone else, but i don’t do it as often as i probably would and I don’t let people take advantage of that.

I had a fantastic time in Japan and I think a lot of that comes down to what My Unit leader and I spoke about – and I was, and still am, so thankful for that.

There’s plenty of quotes about looking out for yourself so here are a few for you to take in! Make sure you Self indulge from time to time and look after yourself!








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