I often feel like I am playing a game of “catch me if you can” around the world. I can barely keep up with myself sometimes. I’ve had some people ask if I’m running from something, like if I did something wrong and broke the law to just be on the move all the time. Even my fellow travelers tell me I travel a lot.
I almost missed this flight last month from Paris to New Delhi but I really didn’t care; any excuse to rock this sleep mask is good in my book. It was a miracle I made it. So, I’ll tell you the story about how I got here.
I was on Day 2 of 4 days of travel from the United States back to Thailand. I had already flown Tampa>Pittsburgh, then an overnight from PGH>Iceland where I got stamped into the EU. Then Iceland>Paris.
I had booked this flight from Paris to Bangkok already and didn’t want it to go to waste; I ended up having around a 12-hour layover, which was really all the time I thought I needed to just see the Eiffel Tower. I’ve never had much desire to go to Paris; it just so happened that was the cheapest flight out of Europe back to Bangkok at the time so I thought, what the heck… but then I went to the States last second and had to make my way back… it was quite the trip.
So, when I got into Paris in the morning, I found the airport super confusing and spent an hour washing up before dropping my luggage off at the storage and heading to the metro. First, I went to the Notre Dame and sipped a coffee (yes, I’m back to drinking it sometimes) and ate a croissant (not vegan all the time either), then, because the metro was closed going toward the direction of the Eiffel, I had to figure out a different way to go.
I figured it out finally and walked around, took my photos, etc. I thought my flight out was at 10:50 pm so around 7 pm I started to make my way back to the airport, thinking it would take me 1 hour. WRONG!!
Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.
Because Google Maps didn’t know that 1 stop was not working near the Notre Dame to transfer back to the airport, I ended up getting SUPER lost on the metro and during this whole ordeal I had to pee soooo bad, I ended up having to hold it for like 2 hours.
I had a map and was trying to figure it out; in fact, I think I had figured it out but then this French woman told me to go a different way. Actually, at one point, she even told me she had lost her little ticket to exit the metro transfer and she had to squeeze through the turnstile with me!
Anyways, I eventually made all of the transfers and then found my way onto a train that was going the way I wanted it to go- but not to the airport itself! So, I got off at the next stop and waited impatiently for the next train, staring at the screen, watching the minutes tick down.
Finally, the next train for the airport rolls up and I hop on. Immediately, someone comes on the intercom and speaks in French. Everyone around me starts groaning and getting off the train! I thought, WHAT?! So, I get off and again am counting down the minutes until the next train.
Again, it finally comes, and we all get back on. It took several minutes for it to start going, and it was stopping for a very long time at each stop- it took about 30 minutes to go 2 stops.
I thought, wow, something must be wrong. I still have no idea what happened, if there was an accident or something. I started looking at my phone, which I had to turn my US SIM card service on for, and at that moment, I realized my flight was at 10 pm, NOT 10:30 pm and I had to check in by 9 pm in order to make my flight and the luggage pickup was only open until 9:30 pm. And it was around 7:40pm.
It was at this point that I decided to get off the train and thought I would call an Uber to the airport (was going to cost $85 and take around 45 minutes).
When I got off the train, I kept running toward the signs that said “sortie” which is “exit” in French but it was like a maze. Finally, I reached what appeared to be some sort of indoor, underground mall 1 floor up. But I still could find no exit! And I had already exited the metro, so I could not go back in. I finally found an information booth who told me to use the elevator nearby. Also, my feet were killing me because I was wearing my fancy sandals and not my flip flops or hiking ones because… it was Paris.
Finally, daylight appeared again but I was now in a pedestrian shopping mall full of people and no roads or cars. I started running toward a group of people, assuming a street was over there. I was trying to call an Uber but I had no idea what street I was on. I was frantically waving my arms for a taxi and finally one stopped. I hopped in around 8:15pm.
I still had to pee so bad, I thought I was going to pee my pants in my public. I had grabbed a piece of tissue in my purse to shove in my pants just in case. I tell the driver my situation and he calmly maneuvers his way through the traffic while I breathe deeply trying not to text my friends and family that I may miss my flight that my mother and I had worked so hard to get me back to.
Unlike the time in Mumbai I also almost missed my flight, but in that case, I used a combination of prayer, curse words, and Reiki. I’ll never forget when the light turned GREEN and a lady in traditional garb started pulling a cow across the street RIGHT when we needed to go. That’s, India, right?
Back to Paris.
In the end, he got me to the airport at 8:40 pm (took less than 30 minutes) and only cost around $58 (way cheaper than Uber). After running my card, I ran downstairs to grab my luggage, and because I had only paid for my luggage until 8 pm (when I was supposed to get back by my original calculation), they charged me an additional 10 euro or something which took even more of my time and check in was about to close. I also informed them of the situation and they brought me my 4 bags and 3 hula hoops and a luggage cart. I immediately started sprinting (at one point my bag fell off and I still have NOT peed).
I run up toward the check-in for Air India through the express lane, luckily there was barely anyone there. This other guy in the other lane looks at me and says “don’t worry. I am also on the flight to New Delhi”. And they all tell me it’s fine and I will make it, so I let him check in.
Once I reach my counter attendant, he is super nice and then some random Indian guy who works for Air India comes up to me and asks me if I have an outbound flight out of Thailand. I said, no, I am taking the bus to Malaysia. He held me up even further by saying I should have a flight out but then he runs away to get something for me to sign stating I would not overstay my visa. While signing the paper, he starts asking me if I prefer India or Thailand, kind of joking with me by acting offended that I prefer Thailand. I tell him if I miss my flight, it will be his fault and he lets me go.
Now I am finally heading to the gate, but forget I have to go through Immigration and get stamped out of the EU before security. Some older lady behind me starts wailing she is late for her flight, so the kind people in front of us let both us through.
Now, I am onto security, so I empty out my bags but I set off the metal detector because I just so happen to be wearing the absolute WORST pants for traveling that have metal flowers on the bottom of them (I really did not have appropriate clothing for Paris TBH). So at this point, I half-expected them to inspect my bags because it happens so often when I travel with bags full of electronics, crystals, clothing, etc. But instead, I set off the detector and when I pointed to the metal flowers, they gave me the full pat-down and held me up even further by making me lift up my pants and place my foot in some kind of screening device to which I also had to take my fancy sandals off.
Finally, after this whole ordeal, I collected my bags and ran toward my gate, but first I had to pee! I went to the nearest toilet and by the time I sat down, it was only 9:08 pm! Not even boarding time.
I swear, time stopped. I have no idea how I got through all of that so quickly. Like I said when I finally got back to Koh Phangan… I thank my angels. Every damn day.
So I flew overnight to New Delhi and woke up to wonder what I had in store going through Indian security as transit. I really should have asked for my power bank back since they confiscated it last time, but truth be told… I already have 2 and don’t need it. The line through security took a while and for once in my life having flown into India 3 times in the last year and gone through security more times than I can count on 1 hand in that country, it was by far, the easiest. They didn’t make me take out all my electronics or jewelry like usual.
So, then I had a 3-4 hour layover, and per usual, the airport makes it really difficult for you to get internet in India. But, since I’ve flown through here 3 times now, I pretty much know what to do and where to go.
The problem with getting the ‘free’ wifi in India is that you have to have a phone number for them to text a code to- which makes absolutely NO SENSE if you don’t have any service on your phone.
So then you have to go to a kiosk where someone can give you a code. The guy wasn’t so nice this time, but he managed to give me a code for 45 minutes free wifi on my phone so I could use WhatsApp and then I purchased internet for 24 hours on my laptop to get work done- meanwhile my laptop was dying and he was taking forever to enter the password for the internet and a big line had started and he was telling me he could not give any more codes out.
After which, I made my way to this sports bar I always go to that blasts techno music- they were actually playing that video from that Tomorrowland performance I posted a few months ago. In this sports bar, there are couches in the back where I can sprawl out and charge all my shit. It’s my go-to spot.
Now, why I am telling you about India? Because the Indian guy at the Paris airport who made me sign that piece of paper made me all nervous that immigration in Thailand may ask me for an outbound flight (they never have in the past), so when I got into India… I booked my flight to Bali, thinking that October 1st was my 30th day…
In the end, immigration in Thailand never asked and October 1st was 1 day over my visa, for which I extended for $60 because there was no way I could get to Bangkok on an expired visa anyways (just not a good idea here). Not to mention Oct. 1 was the day my aerial yoga training was ending and I was going to have to book it on a boat, shuttle, and a flight up to BKK to catch another flight, after teaching 2 courses back-to-back, for which I’ve barely had any break… just not a good idea. I’ve barely had time to sleep much less pack anything… and well, I just don’t want to deal with getting on a freaking airplane right now.
So, now this brings me to today. I have a flight to Bali and I’m not going. I’ve been telling myself and others that I’m going for months and I’ve been so excited, but I am really exhausted after all the travel, teaching 2 courses back-to-back and I have at least 3 writing projects on top of my own work, not to mention- I have to order some aerial hammocks- so it’s best for me to get them delivered in Thailand rather than India- and REST! Do nothing for a little while. I don’t have to keep traipsing around the world.
I feel really called to Indonesia for sure, but with the earthquake that just happened there as well, perhaps it’s a sign. I pray for the people there. I pray for my work and my lifestyle to be a more positive impact on the world and perhaps that’s why I now need this time to cocoon instead of play.
So, now is not the time. I figure I will need longer than 3 weeks there anyway, right? I’m pretty much nearly booked for most of next year so who knows when it will happen. I suppose I just feel this pressure as a “spiritual traveler” so to speak that I need to get to Bali, things are not what they used to be, things are getting more expensive, etc etc sort of like what old Burners say.
I’d like to go to Bali/Indo without teaching, as well… so it puts a blip in my timeline for sure… whenever I do decide to go.
At the beginning of this year, I set my intentions to go to Europe and Bali. To have at least done 1 of them is enough. To have done as much as I have done this year already- is enough. It’s so hard for me to accept that and it’s so hard for me to find the line between directing my life and surrendering it rather than shoving it into tiny boxes of what I think it should be.
It’s kind of funny because I have been in this situation twice before… canceled a trip to the Dominican Republic once and pushed my initial trip to Nicaragua back… both of which turned out positive… so we will see how this one plays out…
I’ve often said I just wanted some time off to work by the beach on my stuff. So now, I give myself permission to give myself that time.
**Fingers crossed I can get my flight money back through my travel insurance with a doctor’s note**