A few people said to me recently that when a trip starts off badly it means that the rest of it will be fabulous. I think those same people believe that rain on a wedding day means good luck as does getting shit on by a bird. I don’t really believe in old adages or luck or whatever you want to call it, but I’m quite content to go along with this train of thought since the start to my summer adventure was brutal with a capital ‘holy shit, how much more can I take’?!
Without going through the whole mess of a journey to get to Asia, let’s just say that one “little” mistake by Air Canada set in motion a cancelled reservation, a missed flight, multiple missed connections and eventually the harsh realization that the type of ticket I purchased stipulated that missing the first leg meant my whole multi-destination ticket over two months and five countries was null and void. As in….cancelled.
As it was all unfolding, I scrambled to keep some semblance of composure. Ten years ago, I would have probably swung at someone but the kinda-grown-up-Maia-who-believes-heavily-in-Karma-and-prison breathed in deeply and reigned in the fly-off-the-handle-without-thinking-Maia. Thankfully.
There were a few good people that night who restored my faith in humanity and helped stave off the meltdown – one of which was a WestJet guy who ended up saving the day and arranging a series of flights to get me to Asia. For free. When the whole mess had absolutely nothing to do with WestJet.
The journey was not over yet though since my bags were temporarily sent across the country; I had an extra day of non-stop travel; I managed to miss another connection in China, and then due to plane problems sat on the tarmac in Shanghai for what felt like an eternity.
I can’t lie and say that I didn’t shed a few tears over the 48-hour journey or that I didn’t picture myself strangling a few people – the open-mouthed chewer, the burper, the line cutter, the loud sigher, the angry security worker, the complacent teenager, or a half a dozen others I came in contact with. However, something else happened that was quite profound, for me anyway.
I stayed relatively calm. I stayed fairly optimistic. I rolled with the punches and stayed focused on my trip, and the great privilege I have of travelling the world. I kept reminding myself that I am lucky enough to even be in this position, a position that many people across the world do not have.
A lack of money or resources or freedom plagues many more people than not. When it’s about starting a new life in a country that claims to welcome them but instead keeps them at a border, robbing them of basic necessities and dignity, they cannot travel. When it’s about fleeing war and saving themselves and their families, they still cannot travel.
Yes, I know this may be a bit deep for one’s thoughts while waiting in yet another line, going through yet another scanner and reciting “no, I don’t have anything metal in my pockets”, yes, my seatbelt is fastened”, “excuse me, can I have another glass of wine”, “I know my ticket is messed up, but I’m supposed to be on this flight” over and over and over, but it’s what kept me sane. It’s what I kept telling myself every time my frustrations would mount and blood would boil. I am travelling yet again for fun, for me, and I can.
Basically, chill the fuck out, Maia. There are worse things in life.
So as I sit in a cafe on a Thai beach during a torrential downpour in what’s turning out to be monsoon season, I’m happy. I’m optimistic. I’m counting my blessings that I made it here at all, that I’m seeing the world and all its beauty and most definitely growing from the experience.
And I know the sun will come back. It always does.
….in more ways than one.