So let me preface this by saying that nothing goes according to my original plan(s) during my travels; and for people that know me or have traveled with me, I’m sure you are nodding your head in agreement. I mean I knew my world trip wouldn’t go exactly as planned, but seriously…these kinks in my most perfect plan are preposterous and just downright so stressful that all I can do is laugh at this point! I have high expectations during my travels that I planned for anything and everything, but being three countries in has shown me that I cannot plan for EVERYTHING! So here’s a bit about what has happened thus far on my trip…
I was supposed to fly out to Orange County and have this amazing NYE and pre-trip celebration with my boyfriend and bestie; well the day we fly out to Cali, the bestie calls and says her flight is cancelled and she can’t get back until it’s too late! I jump into action and book a hostel and Airbnb, but then I remember that my Christmas gift was shipped to her house in Cali! To put a long story short she ended up getting back to Cali and took my boyfriend and I to LAX airport, with my camera before we disembark to our respective destinations. Don’t even get me started on leaving my boyfriend of two years in the airport…I’m such an ugly crier! He’s so supportive though, told me how proud he was to date a dream chaser and such a strong woman. Well we soon begin to learn just how “strong” I am! Ha!
I started my journey in Fiji for the main reason of wanting to become PADI dive certified; well little did I know that January is cyclone season. So a couple days before leaving I get an email stating that my dive school is cancelled due to weather. I took it like a champ and decided to make the most of my stay in Nadi. The small city of Nadi is somewhere that you only spend 1-2 nights in before leaving to go island hopping. I was due to be there for 6 nights because of the dive school, but I met the most incredible people and got to go snorkeling and see beautiful creatures at the Castaway island, like where Tom Hanks shot his iconic film! Silly me, never knew that it was a Fijian island that he was on!
The snorkeling was so magnificent on this island and the coral was very close to the shore, which I’ve never encountered before and I’ve snorkeled all throughout the Caribbean. The funniest thing about this excursion is the fact that our tour guide dropped our group off (on this deserted island) with nothing but a cooler of Fiji Bitter Beer lol…basically if we were left to die, we were going to go out with a party!
The day I left Fiji, I was so sad to leave the new friends that I had made but the beauty of it is most of us were following the same path to New Zealand or Australia! While boarding my flight to Auckland, New Zealand I noticed that my feet were starting to swell up, but I chucked that up to my lack of water intake in Fiji. During the flight they got worse, especially my left foot. The nicest couple sat next to me on the flight came to my immediate rescue, as I couldn’t walk. I could not walk! This couple (I call them my Guardian Angels), who didn’t even know my name assisted me from the aircraft to a wheelchair through customs got my bags and then took me to my hostel. I’m crying hysterically because of their kindness, again ugly crier alert! Well I get to the hostel prop my foot up and still no relief.
Within 5-6 hours of landing in Auckland I find myself in the Auckland City Hospital with no family or friends present. Trust me I was scared, crying, and calling out for my Mommy! Come to find out that nice and pretty coral and reef that I snorkeled at in Fiji cut me and gave me two different nasty infections, which landed me an 8 day stay in the lovely Auckland City hospital. Thank goodness for travel insurance! During my stay at the hospital I was able to cry, meditate, and pray, which are somethings that I’ve needed to do for myself for a long time now. I prayed that the Lord would give me my Mom’s grace and my Dad’s strength, and more importantly healing and peace. No one in my family asked me to come home, which I’m thankful for. In those moments I knew that I was going to move on with my trip, there’s no going back because I’m a DreamChaser!
I was released with crutches and antibiotics and a warning to stay out of the water until I finish it. “But what about the Great Barrier Reef”, I said. The doctor replied, “that will be a big no”! I felt a bit defeated but fortunately there are alternatives for people to still see the reef who cannot get wet (I made it!). So I leave Auckland to get to Australia and the love and support continues throughout my whole stay! From Sydney to Cairns to Perth, I have found multiple people who are willing to help me along and each and every person has a special place in my heart!
New Zealand taught me that it’s not necessarily the terrain and landscape that I should be focusing on, but the personal relationships that I can find and build with people which is more everlasting in the long run! I tried preparing myself for this trip the best way I could, but obviously you can only prepare for so much. Life happens and it’s how you deal with it that determines the outcome! Just keep pushing through and move forward to chase your dreams! Everything is going to go up from here, just keep believing in God and myself!
Let’s talk about a time where the unexpected happened to you during your travels…How did you handle it?