The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it. The saying is adapted from a line in a play “To a Mouse,” by Scottish Poet Robbie Burns: “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”
My plan was to be spending Xmas eve on the other side of the world in Jordan, in a tent watching the sun go down sipping Bedouin tea and sleeping under the stars. Instead, I will be back in Godzone asking myself how I could have fucked up so bad when I have traveled all over the world, often solo and managed to always get where I was headed. Always there has been adventure along the way and I love the adrenaline rush that thinking on your feet gives me. I love the freedom of not answering to anyone and the fact that I live a life that allows me to make choices – often survival choices that are so empowering and never get old.
I flew to Hong Kong a few days ago as the first leg of a trip to Tel Aviv where I was meeting a friend before joining an organised trip to tour Israel and Jordan. It was a 9-day tour that had been booked in a moment of impulse back in August. At that stage, I was living in the not so leafy suburb of Tinwald in Ashburton on a section the size of a pocket-handkerchief still searching for that elusive piece of dirt to relocate to. I booked the trip planning to meet a friend there and have a good old catch up thinking anything would be better than staying at home wishing I was somewhere else.
The Middle East has never really been high on my bucket list to visit. I struggle to stay on track and PC wherever I travel to, and so venturing into an area like Israel on my own hasn’t interested me. My relationship with God is a bit of a mystery and I saw the trip as an opportunity to clear a few things up in my mind. I grew up with no religious input but after a period of searching for meaning in my early twenties, I took a few bible lessons and started going to church thinking maybe that was the piece of emptiness I had been looking for that would quell the restlessness in my heart. I committed to the cause and at the ripe old age of 24, I dipped my head in the font and was baptised and confirmed by the Vicar in the one day as an adult into the Anglican Church. My faith has had its ups and downs and over the last two decades, my yarns with God have become infrequent and usually when I am only in deep shit. I have come to trust my instincts more and the power of the universe so have assumed the agnostic stance on matters of the faith. But I do hate indecision , so my planned trip was buoyed on by the fact that if I was ever going to feel close to God, surely it would be where it all began?
I reasoned if the late JC was going to appear in my mind and affirm my belief system, the odds had to be increased by being in his homeland at the time of his birth amongst the believers and his modern-day disciples celebrating the magic of it all?
I got into Hong Kong at 9.20 pm on Thursday night and because life has been so busy and I am so blasé about traveling, I hadn’t looked at the ticket until a couple of days before my departure. In my haste, I read a line on the ticket that said I had to have an overnight stay in Hong Kong at my own expense before catching the connecting flight at 130 the next day. I hurriedly booked some accommodation in downtown Hong Kong online, annoyed that I hadn’t realised that when purchasing the ticket.
What was more annoying was that the real layover time was only a couple of hours and it was in fact 1.30 am I had been scheduled to catch the connecting flight. I knew my bags had been checked straight through as I had asked for that so when I passed the transit lounge door with my backpack, clean undies, and a toothbrush, I had no idea that after a couple of hours sleep I would wake and be gripped by a wave of panic when it would dawn on me that perhaps I had missed the plane?
To be continued…