Sunday, May 18, 2014
Lets Get Lost 2014 - Part 5 ~ Travelling Alone
"Nothing is more terrifying than fearlessness..." ~ Cornelia Funke
Be prepared to read a barrage of posts in response to all your emails. The most common question I have been getting is this "Who are you travelling with?" and as soon as they know I am travelling alone, they go "Are you crazy?".
Well, I have to admit that I am a little crazy *grin*. But honestly, I have to tell you guys that after what I went through the last year, I have lost all sense of fear, and this is not a joke.
There is nothing worse for a mother than to lose her child, and it happened to me and I survived that. There is also nothing worse for a wife to have her marriage fall apart, and that also happened to me and I survived that as well. It was also crazy that both happened at pretty much the same time and all at once, so you can imagine the trauma I went through.
I find that now after surviving something like that, I have become absolutely fearless. If somebody asks me today 'Let's go jump out a plane and skydive', my answer will be 'Where's the plane?'.
If somebody says 'Let's go jump into a pond' when its 10 degrees out. I'll be the first one in.
I reflect on life and how tough things were and how it can get tougher as I live in a society where single mothers are shunned and looked down upon, and I just say 'Bring IT'.
Okay maybe I am afraid of a few things still like :-
1. Losing Airiel;
2. Clowns; and
3. Runny Egg Yolks.
Hahahaha. Moving along...
I made the most natural decision in the world to decide to do this alone when my travel buddy couldn't make it.
Errr, I only told my family when I came back safe and sound ... of course. Haha.
On my travels, I must say that I have experienced nothing but kindness from those around me. You must understand, that a muslim female, wearing a hijab and travelling alone is something you do not see very often in Europe or UK. Needless to say, I attracted attention everywhere I went. At some places in France, the wearing of the hijab is still prohibited so you can imagine the Islamophobia that is rampant.
But people were more curious than anything else, and some were a bit suspicious. I got held up at immigration on my travels all the time but the key is to be good natured about it and answer the questions honestly.
The no. 1 question I get asked in Paris and they would just flat out ask is 'Are you Muslim?' because muslims they usually see are Middle Easterners and I look Chinese so it doesn't make sense to them. Haha
I have experienced everything from getting free taxi rides, to people buying me breakfast and coffee, to having people helping me carry my luggage to people showing me the direction of locations when it is a 15min walk against the direction of where they were going.
A couple from Sweden walked me back to my hotel in Paris as I was wondering alone in the Eiffel Tower area because they say I shouldn't be out by myself at such a late hour. It did not help that they bought me coffee first. Gua sebak huhu. I was so touched I forgot to take pictures.
People also find it amusing because I prayed everywhere, like bila dah desperate mana mana pun jadi. In trains mostly as I travelled. They even helped me spray water on my hands as I showed them how to ambil wudhu', absolutely fascinated they were.
But always be cautious, be safe and take safety precautions. Then you pray for the best, and just let the rest flow and happen.
Trust me, there is beauty and kindness in human hearts everywhere. Believe that it exists, and it will reveal itself to you. I have seen it in the flesh, and I believe it.
Travelling alone is absolutely liberating and is something I will definitely do again.
My friend gave me this, and I think it is apt.
If your dreams don't scare you readers, then it's just not big enough of a dream.
Everything you can ever imagine is real.
So go out and do it.
Much love from me and Airiel.
Peace and love to everyone.