Things don’t always turn out as you plan, especially when travelling. Yesterday morning, I expected that I would be sleeping in my own bed in Melbourne right now. Instead, I find myself at the very pretty Nilai Springs Golf and Country Club, 50 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur, sitting in the large open lounge and bar area that I have almost to myself, listening to the sound of water cascade down the feature wall behind me and around the stage area to my left The country club is set on many acres of land. It is green and open and far from the city.
I was not happy about being here at first. No. I was upset that I had missed my connecting flight and have to wait 33 hours to get on the next available flight. My flight from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur was delayed by 2.5 hours. We landed 25 minutes before my flight to Melbourne was due to depart. We weren't given any instructions but instinctively I walked as fast as I could to the terminal building. When I was almost there an airline staff approached and asked if I was going to Melbourne and told me to run. So I ran. Inside the terminal building someone else told me to go upstairs which took me out through immigration and into Malaysia. So I did, confused about why I had to go out instead of through the transfer area which I knew was quicker. I asked more staff. Yes I had to go out then in again. They told me to run. I kept running. But it felt odd so I asked one more ground staff before I went back through immigration and that is when I found out that I had missed my plane.
I burst into tears at the service counter and could barely speak. Then I became angry that the airline had not managed the situation well. If they had been more organized, they could have made sure we were on that flight as we had landed 25 minutes before the next flight took off. The shock soon passed and now I am here in this oasis, I am grateful, to have this quiet time to rest and reflect before I return to my city life.
Through travelling, I have discovered peace within the waiting. I have spent a lot of time waiting to board planes and buses and trains then waiting to arrive at my destination. I cannot bend time. Impatience, wanting to be somewhere I am not, being angry or annoyed over delays and cancellations I cannot change only makes the whole experience unenjoyable and the time seem to pass even more slowly. Sitting in cramped in often hot and uncomfortable conditions is not pleasant but it is part of travelling, a part of the adventure. It enhances the anticipation of arriving and experiencing something new. Waiting is something I make the most of. I take the window seat and watch. I rarely sleep except sometimes during night travel. I don’t want to miss that moment that could take my breath away. Those moments are food for my soul.
As I wait now, my mind wanders to Melbourne. My spirit cries. There is a deep inner sorrow in returning. I am the bird voluntarily returning to the cage. The sorrow is subdued by the warmth of love for my friends and family who I will see again soon. Feeling myself being back in Melbourne feels like a contraction, cold and sombre, as it has every time I have returned since I first left. I enjoy many things there and live a good life. It’s just that I don’t feel my spirit soar when I am there. I am not the city chick I once knew myself to be. I wonder if humans were really meant for a city life or if it’s just the life we know; how modern life and society has evolved. Is it really our true nature to live amidst so much artificiality, so separate from nature?
I am blessed with choice and full of questions. Where do I want to be? Where is the next stepping-stone in my life’s journey? I’m not yet sure but wherever it is I expect it will have open space, lots of green and a warm sea. It will be somewhere my spirit feels free.