Readers! Or lack thereof! Great news – after a short burst of an interweb-tech-equivalent to CPR (in which I scramble around in the recesses of my brain to recall which username and password it is that unlocks access to my very own blog), this site is brought back to life with this post. Hurrah!
Thank god websites don’t physically decay. If it did, with the amount of time I’d left this blog abandoned since my last post I would’ve found it all rotten and mouldy by now. Ew.
Let’s see how long this little stint of writing will last then, before I once again fall into the habit of too-busy-journeying that results in too-little-journaling. For now, however, the revival of this site is brought upon by my recent short trip around a handful of cities in Europe.
The whole trip actually materialized in a span of about 15 minutes, on July 10th. An impromptu decision to travel, in a way. I was texting with my best friend Jules, who had some exciting news to tell me. I won’t go into details, but the news involved her having quite a bit of free time out of work, and that also called for a celebration – so within that short conversation (by our standards), we decided that we would celebrate by going on holiday to Prague and Vienna. It was agreed that in about 6 weeks’ time from that day, Jules would fly to Europe from Kuala Lumpur, and I would get a flight from Dubai to meet her there. The trip dates would coincide with her birthday, it was also during Eid, and thus we had plenty to celebrate whilst on holiday.
So yeah, the decision to travel was pretty spontaneous, but the timing of the trip itself had to be planned. Unfortunately enough we couldn’t just hop on the next plane out and leave 🙂
Only a short time prior, my boss had raised the topic of a holiday for me. I had initially thought to decline and push it to later, but the chat with Jules made me change my mind so I asked my boss if the timing was alright. Gladly enough it worked out perfect, and I was allowed the time off from work for the dates I wanted. Simultaneously, Jules had also planned for another holiday a bit later on with her husband and family, and seeing as to how he couldn’t take more time off he was happy to let her travel solo with me on this trip. Tickets were bought, excitement was high, and we started counting down days.
And then….. we found out that Jules was pregnant. It was joyous news, yet another reason to meet and squeal around in glee like girls do with happy, exciting things. But timing was not on our side – less than two weeks to the trip, the bulk of the morning sickness, hormonal, bodily changes and minor complications that come with pregnancies hit Jules hard. We had another discussion, and despite her doctor saying she was okay to travel we decided it was not worth the risk or burden for her – the early stages of a pregnancy is a crucial and fragile time so it was best that she stuck around at home and rested. And so Jules cancelled her trip. The only big commitment we’d done at that point was the purchase of flight tickets, so it wasn’t too big a hassle to go through with cancellations.
Initially my one and only reason for the holiday was to see Jules… but now that that wasn’t going to happen anymore, I thought, I had always wanted to see more of the Central and Eastern European countries anyway… so this was my chance to check a couple of them off my list. The two-week break from what had been a pretty busy few months at work would do me good too. So I decided to continue with my plans, and do the trip alone.
When I first shared my travel plans with my parents, my father joked about how I should reroute my itinerary a little and meet up with the rest of the family, who would be on transit in London around the same time as my Europe travel plans. My mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law and niece had all been holidaying in the US and they were all taking a flight into London as a midway stop on their return home to Malaysia. Initially when my plan was to meet with Jules, this was a little tough to do as I had to sync my travel dates with her availability. But now that I was traveling alone, suddenly my dad’s comment about meeting them there started sounding like a great idea.
And so after a rushed chat with him over Facebook to confirm on their flight details and plans for London, I quickly called Emirates Airlines and requested for a change of destinations to my original tickets purchased – instead of flying from Dubai to Prague, I would fly into London. The initial response I got was disappointing to hear… all flights to Heathrow around the dates I wanted were full. Even First Class!! (Not that I could have afforded it…). And not for the first time, I was awed by just how much people travel today.
Just as I was ready to give in to the disappointment of not being able to meet up with my family after all, the customer service representative on the phone perked up and said, “Hang on, Miss… I found two empty seats on our flight into Gatwick airport on the date of your intended travel. Would you like that one instead? It works out cheaper too compared to Heathrow.”
I jumped out of my office chair in happiness and squealed “OHMYGOD Gatwick is even better!! It’s closer to my friend’s house! GIVE ME THAT TICKET PLEASE!” I was ecstatic. I didn’t even know Emirates Airlines flew into both Gatwick and Heathrow. My good friends (more like adopted dads… I forcibly adopted them, not they me :P) Yus and Mick, whom I visit and stay with any time I go to London, live just 20 minutes away by train from Gatwick airport. And with me arriving in London a day before my brother and sister-in-law did, it all worked out perfectly.
That was how things ended up falling into place anyway, despite the surprises, changes and spur-of-the-moment-decisions that took place.
I’m sorry! I know this wasn’t really much of an actual travel log entry… more a story of how I started the travels in the first place. I guess it’s really a piece I decided to write, in order to share how much I love the fact that sometimes when things don’t go to plan, if you don’t stress and you just roll with it, they have a way of rearranging themselves for something equally as great, or even better. I started off excited about being able to meet my best friend (whom I had missed very much… she’s almost like my spouse – if you watch Grey’s Anatomy and see the friendship between Meredith Grey and Christina Yang then Jules would be what I would call “my person” – that’s how close we are). Then I got excited about her pregnancy, and being able to ‘meet’ the baby in her tummy whilst we’re on holiday. That changed into disappointment with her having to cancel her trip, and the conflicting worry of her well-being and not being around at home for her when she needed me. But then it worked out that my travel dates could coincide with my family’s travel plans, and I hadn’t seen my niece in almost 6 months and I missed her desperately too, plus I could catch up with other good friends in London… so there you have it. I then suddenly had the chance to revisit a city I love, in order to spend time with the people I love 🙂
Everything always works out in the end!
Soundtrack: The National – Terrible Love
Mood: Overwhelmingly grateful
Location: Dibba, Oman
Random thought: I’m in the mood to make myself some almond butter