Trusting The Journey

Before I left for Italy I went in to have a manicure & pedicure at my favorite salon in Riyadh where I’m pretty familiar with all the girls. We were all chit-chatting and I was telling them about my upcoming trip when the woman sitting next to me, who was also getting a pedicure, joined the conversation. Next thing you know this woman and I are exchanging life stories. She’s an older lady, with kids slightly younger than me. She’s been there and back with all sorts of adventures under her belt, worldly with lots of travel experience. I tell her about some of my adventures and some of my experiences, she’s genuinely interested and asks for more. After I’m done practically telling her my entire life story she smiles at me and says “you have true faith in where you are going, don’t you?” I thought about what she said and I was honestly stumped by the question “you have true faith in where you are going, don’t you?” 

Do I? And I said that to her with the question mark. And she just kept smiling and said “yes, you definitely do.” (By the end of our pedicures we had exchanged phone numbers and she invited me to dinner with her family to hear all about Italy when I returned. I am now back in The Kingdom and have every intention of taking her up on the offer.)

Her question lingered with me for a long time after the salon and stayed with me almost throughout the entire Italy trip. Because every time I asked it of myself I didn’t have an answer. How could I have faith in where I was going, when I had no idea of where that was? The conversation would play out something like this in my head “Uhm, so T, where ARE you going? WHAT are you doing in Saudi Arabia? What do you want out it?” and my replies back to myself would be along the lines of “Hell if I know.”

So I did the mature thing and decided to just kind of avoid those really loaded questions.

And instead I found what happened was I started telling myself to have faith in where you are going. No matter what I was doing or where I was going.

And it came in really handy on the long, misjudged, and miscalculated trip my sister & I were on from Rome to Praiano. (But that is for another post. There was a full moon as well that day/night ruling all my emotions, so anything that happened the moon will be at fault.)

OK. Stay with me. I promise there really is a point to all this…

Have faith in where you are going…

and this is where we end up after our long, misjudged, and miscalculated journey…

and here…

And when there is a problem with our hotel room, the owner of the hotel puts my sister & I up in her personal apartment because the hotel was sold out otherwise.

And I start remembering. I DO have faith in where I am going. I always have. I may not have known what to call it, and at times it may have been hidden under all the ‘noise’ of life, but it’s always been there. I may not KNOW where I will end up, but it has never ever been about the destination, it’s always been about the journey for me.

There have been plenty of times I have been envious of folks who seem to know exactly what they want and where they are going. Even though these people baffled me, (how in the world can they be so certain?) I was still envious. But I was always OK with not following the crowd because deep down I always knew I had my own journey to travel. And somewhere I forgot this, but my lady in the salon made me remember it somewhere on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast .

So when the Italian public transportation system went on strike, while I was attempting to return from Naples to Praiano (after having put my sister on a train back to Rome), I decided to just have faith in where I was going that day. And presto two fabulous-crazy ladies came into my life at the train station. Andrea & Marilee. And we kind of hijacked a 100% non-English speaking taxi driver and had him drive us from Naples to Sorrento.

And two days later the three of us are having our own adventure along the coast.

Have faith in where you are going.

As I sat on the terrace of one of two hotels in the village of Praiano and told myself  “have faith in where you are going”  because the bus drivers were still on strike, the absolute most adorable waiter who waited on my sister & I a couple of nights ago, asks what I’m doing (and as much as I was tempted to say “absolutely nothing, because I’m staying here with you”) I tell him I’m stuck because of the strike. He ends up calling his cousin to come pick me up and drive me directly to Sorrento.

I had faith in where I was going

and this is where I ended up…

Are you still with me? It gets better. I swear. We’re almost there…

So all this “having faith in where I was going”  was put to a test during my connection in Cairo on my return trip back to The Kingdom.

As we were about to land in Cairo, there was an announcement that if anyone was transferring in Cairo that we would need to claim our baggage first, go through customs, and then get to our transfer gate.

Ugh. Was what I said. There was barely any having faith and at this point I was just so tired of my friggin’ suitcase (for another post) I was tempted to just let the Egyptians keep it.

But alas, I knew what I had to do. Or thought I did until I entered the utter chaos of the Cairo airport. I had NO IDEA where to go or how to go about it. After standing in two wrong lines I finally spot a “transfer desk” but the only thing is there are no customers at this desk but there is a man sitting behind it. So I go up to this desk and hesitantly tell this Egyptian man “I need to transfer to Riyadh and I don’t know how to get my baggage.” There was something going on with the moon again because I felt like I was going to tear up in front of this man when I said that to him.  And in a thick Arabic accent he says to me “baggage claim ticket”, I give it to him and he says “sit down” and points to some chairs.

After some time, some other man shows up with my suitcase and says to me “come”. So I “come” with this man who has my suitcase. And we go outside and get into a van. And he drives to the other side of the airport, takes me inside, up an elevator and into some room with plush lounge chairs and soft music. Without my suitcase. “Sit down” I’m told again. So I do – plush lounge chairs.  Then another man shows up, asks for my passport and flight information. I ask him if there is some problem and I’m starting to kind of regret going to that transfer desk NO ONE else seemed to go to. This third man tells me “no problem, Madame. Don’t worry. We get you to your flight.” And I want to ask what about my suitcase? But this third man is already gone with my passport.

A fourth man shows up and says to me “Welcome to Egypt, Madame. Would you like some coffee?” So I ask for a coffee with milk and sugar. And I get a coffee with milk and sugar plus some fruit and sandwiches. At which point I ask about my transfer flight and suitcase and the fourth man tells me “Don’t worry, Madame, don’t worry.”

So, hell, I stopped worrying. And laughed out loud and said “have faith in where you are going”.

The fourth man comes back, the one who asked if I wanted any coffee and starts chit-chatting, “have you ever been to Egypt” blah blah. Eventually we end up exchanging information and he asks if he can be my Facebook friend. So I say “sure, why not.”  And yes, I’ve stopped asking about my flight, suitcase, or my passport.

Then the man who initially took my passport and flight information shows up and tells me “You all ready. We put suitcase on flight.” He hands me my passport and boarding pass and tells me which gate to go to. I say good-bye to my new Facebook friend and I head to my gate where the flight is already boarding. Only when I hand the flight crew my boarding pass do I realize I’m in First Class.  I don’t know what sort of transfer desk I went to or who the man was, who any of the men were.  I don’t know what happened or why, I just know I did not book a First Class ticket.

And another thing I know is…

That’s what happens when I don’t follow the crowd. And that’s what happens when one has faith in where they are going. 

And my suitcase was there when I landed in Riyadh. Not that I didn’t have faith it wouldn’t be, mind you…

I may not know where I’m going but I promise it will not be boring.

Trust The Journey.

38 Comments »

  1. Ok, the situation at the Cairo airport would have given me a serious panic attack. Reading about it reminded me of a scene form a James Bond movie! But you had your mantra for this trip, and it worked out great. I enjoyed this post. Looks like you had a wonderful trip, for so many different reasons!

  2. Amazing post….. I’ve had pretty much the same experience, but I never quite had someone focus my attention on how that works. Being another one who is averse to planning and having things somehow work out, one thing I’ve noticed is that things go well when I go with the flow, but it’s the times when I’m straining to make it happen that the shit seems to hit the fan….. 😉

    • Oh Gunta, isn’t that the truth. The more one resists – the more it persists, hah? Sometimes going with the flow can be difficult for some *cough* A-type personalities, but I’m definitely learning the more I let go of so-called control the smoother life gets.

      • Definitely a good lesson to learn, the earlier the better. It’s the best way there is to enjoy the experiences that are being presented to you (for you) to the fullest. Life is good! 🙂

  3. Tahira, this was an absolute joy to read…your best ever. All of these encounters and unknowns just broadened and strengthened your experience. Trusting the journey. Maybe the James Bond association is in the cards for you…since your website is Tahira007…Your photos were absolutely beautiful.:)

  4. Tahira, I cannot tell you how much this post made me smile. I LOVED it. The idea, the experience, your eloquence in relaying it all… amazing. Had my life taken a different path, I hope I would have had the courage to do what you are doing – it sounds wonderful. Thanks for posting!

    • Thank you, Alex, for coming along on the ride. And thank you for the words of encouragement. In the end, regardless of what paths we’ve chosen or what paths we are on, we’re ALL on A Journey – And life is about trusting That Journey … which ever or wherever we may be…. Xx

  5. I’m so glad you followed my blog…it led me to you! I loved this story and the photos are spectacular. I’ve taken a few of the same scenery! I needed to hear this today…I’m on my way to being a reformed type “A” personality and have been in limbo for a while now. Thanks again for the reminder!! ~Sherry~

    • Hello Sherry and welcome! Yes, A-types can definitely have a hard time on “the road”. I too have adopted quite a few B-type traits and it’s been profound, aye?

      I look forward to following you on your journey!

    • We must be soul-sisters or something, maybe separated at birth even. I’m coming up to my 7 month mark in The Kingdom and yeah it’s not at all what I thought it would be – just like most things in life, hah – and I already have a treasure trove of experiences.

      And KNOWING where the hell one is going is so damn boring!

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