Two weeks ago, when my passport was missing, no visa had been issued, and I had to cancel my flight, I couldn’t imagine a silver lining anywhere in my summer plans. There were really low points, where I thought I’d never get my passport back, or ever leave the country this summer. Then there were points where I tried to think as positively as possible, even packing my bag to send a message to the Universe that I was ready. I tried to see friends and family, and do anything I could to keep my mind off the issue, but watching my summer plans unfold in front of my eyes was heartbreaking.
After several phone calls, e-mails, and complaints later, I finally got in touch with someone who was able to help me out. He searched CKGS’s office all weekend for my passport and when it was found, my visa was issued. A week after all the drama, my passport and visa were back in my hands; no words could have even described how grateful I was feeling.
Then, every single person I knew started asking me what my plans were. The problem was I had no idea, as I had already missed a significant portion of my time in India. So many things had gone wrong, and I was hopeless until the passport was actually in my hands. Now with it back, how could I completely revamp my summer plans, and make them just as good, or better than the original?
For hours, I sat at my computer, working out flight schedules and patterns, seeing how I could make everything work, until eventually, I figured out the best of all circumstances, and so were born my new plans.
Here’s what my summer will look like, though if I’ve learned anything from this, travel plans are never set in stone.
Mini Mongol Rally
Unfortunately, one of the biggest parts of the trip that will be affected by all my visa troubles is the Mongol Rally. During the time CKGS had held my passport, I had no time to get my visas for the Rally. The only one I have is Kazakhstan, which no longer requires a visa. But, I was still missing Russia and Uzbekistan, and my time to get them was running low, without those visas I can only go so far. I’ve decided that I will go as far as Tbilisi, Georgia with my team, and from there head off on my own adventure, while they head off on theirs.
While, I am so excited to take part in a large portion of the Rally, I am disappointed that I won’t be able to partake in the entire event. I know that leaving my team in Georgia is going to be one of the hardest good-byes I’ll have to make, especially as I continue to follow their journey. Clearly, this was not meant to be for me, but maybe in the future, I can complete the Rally, and finally visit Mongolia.
From Georgia, I will fly to New Dehli and start my time in India. Due to all the drama it took to actually get the visa, I decided I owed it to myself to spend more time in India, and having to cut the Rally short due to visa issues, I’d have some extra time.
While my original plans only had me spending two weeks in Bangalore, and venturing out to cities nearby, this new plan has me also seeing the North, which I’m looking forward to. I’ll be heading to Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur with G Adventures, who I have never traveled with, and I’ll be getting to see some of the highlights of the country. It’s a quick visit, only seven days, but I will get to see the Taj Mahal, which in my mind, is worth the short trip.
Another disappointment is that my friend, Jade, was supposed to meet me in Bangalore, and we were supposed to complete our time with Leave UR Mark together. Unfortunately, she arrived in India, and I did not. Jade and I haven’t seen each other since our time together in Africa, and I was really looking forward to spending time with her. Still, there wasn’t anything I could have done.
Luckily, Leave UR Mark has been so understanding of the complications I had along the way, and they were able to accommodate me during August. I’m so grateful for them already, as they were beyond supportive during the whole process. From Dehli, I’ll fly down to Bangalore and spend the remaining two weeks there, which help me complete my original summer plans. Then, I’ll fly home from here, about a week earlier than I anticipated.
My new plans are not exactly what I had been expecting and there are a lot of disappointments; from not being able to see my friend, Jade, to not making it to Mongolia to finish the Rally as planned. But, if I can salvage even just a little bit of my summer plans, than in my eyes, it’s better than nothing.
Even though it was an unpleasant experience, one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, I learned a lot in the process. I’ve known that travel plans don’t always unfold as hoped, and preparing for the unexpected is essential, but this took that understanding to an entirely new level. It broke me down to a point I’ve never been to before, and in the end, I believe I handled it in the best way I could.
Hopefully, this adventure turns out as planned, though at this point, I feel like anything is game. No longer will I put so much hope into my travel plans until I am actually where I am supposed to be. Fingers crossed, the rest of this journey will go smoothly.