Delayed, but Not Denied.

Delayed, but not denied on the Namibian border

Delayed, but Not Denied.

Almost exactly two years ago, when I arrived on my own in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, I didn’t know what to expect. Africa was a place I had dreamed of my whole life and when I arrived, it felt very much like coming home. I knew that travel wouldn’t be easy, but I was prepared for the challenge, and even though I was on my own, it wasn’t lonely, it was liberating.

After a day of exploring the Falls on my own, I headed back to the camp site, put my belongings in my tent, and watched small animals jump from tree to tree, while waiting for our first group meeting. It was there that we met Cesar, our leader for the trip. He explained everything we needed to know, while we signed waivers and forms. Then, he ended his talk with these words, “This is Africa, we may be delayed, but not denied.”

This was our lifesaver on the trip because when anything went wrong, from break downs to long border crossings, we would all repeat Cesar’s words, laugh, and let the events of the day unfold. It was what it was and there was nothing that could be done. That was part of travel, and it was okay.

Delayed, but not denied on the Namibian border

After coming home, I began to adopt these words into my travel vocabulary, and I truly believe that they have made me a better traveler. The fact is when it comes to travel, and life for that matter, we don’t always have control, and sometimes the delays we meet serve a purpose that we are unaware of.

Some delays are big ones that cause us to miss entire trips, or part of those trips. This was the case in my trip to Southeast Asia when plans to visit Cambodia didn’t work out, and again in the beginning of the summer, when I was unable to reunite with my friend, Jade, in India. Others are much smaller: missed connections, lost luggage, or weather delays, which can still manage to ruin our trip, if we let it.

With travel, delays are common, and it’s amazing to see just how quickly people’s emotions unravel when that’s the case. That isn’t to say that delays aren’t frustrating, but if we keep in mind that we’ll eventually get where we need to be, then I do believe this helps our overall mindset. This thought has been especially helpful for me this summer.

As frustrating as the process with my visa has been, and the fact that it’s not entirely remedied, I do believe in many ways that it will be fixed when it’s meant to be. That isn’t to say that I haven’t put in a good fight, I most certainly have. But, no matter how hard I have been fighting, there are certain aspects that still aren’t working out the way I had hoped, even with my passport and visa back in my hands.

Delayed, but not denied

Take today for example. It’s the launch party for the Mongol Rally, and although my team is there, I am not. After what I’ve been through since the end of June, I’m still not in a financial position to leave the country. It has put quite a wrench in my plans, and while there were various offers of help, I couldn’t accept them due to the instability of current financial situation.

This led to quite an emotional breakdown yesterday when I couldn’t make things work the way I wanted them to. Thanks to a few of my friends, I was able to calm down, but there was one friend who took it a step further. He consoled me for hours and asked the hard questions, while helping me break down the situation financially and working through the process with me. With this person, I was able to rid myself of my emotions and think logically about the situation. I was being delayed, but I wasn’t necessarily being denied.

The Mongol Rally happens every year and India is always going to be there, these aren’t once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Right now, for whatever reason, I am not currently able to make my summer plans happen. Am I disappointed? Of course, I am, but I can’t focus on what is out of my control. Plus, things may change and unfold in a way I didn’t previously expect. At this point, I’m not exactly sure where my plans are headed, all I know is that they are not what I was anticipating.

Delayed, but not denied

From Cesar’s words, I have learned that it’s all about attitude and keeping a positive one when things don’t go the way we expect. We may not get to where we want to be today or tomorrow, or even this year, but one day, when the timing is right, we’ll get to where we always wanted to be, and because of the delay we experienced, getting there will have that much more meaning.

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Comments (16)

  1. Clementine Buttercup

    I learned whilst in Africa that there is such a thing as ‘Africa time’. I think it made me slow down and just take each day as it came. I wish I could apply that to my everyday life!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, absolutely! I learned this in Fiji too…Fiji Time! I love this about other countries, and really wish that I could apply it to my own life, but it’s so much more difficult where I live. Everything seems to be hurried and rushed!

  2. Cailin

    So sorry about all of the troubles and issues you have been having. 🙁
    However obviously there is another plan for you to enjoy your summer a different way and I bet it will be just as awesome. Who knows someday I might even attempt the Mongol Rally and maybe we can do it together 😉

    1. The World Wanderer

      I agree, Cailin, just not what me or my wallet were expecting, haha. I am such a big believer in things happening for a reason, so that has helped with my emotions for sure. Aww, yes! We could do the Rally together one day. 🙂

      1. Francesca (@WorkMomTravels)

        Ahem, I’m the third member on that team. Let’s make it happen!

        1. Traveling Ted

          So sorry to hear about all this misfortune. I was looking forward to living vicariously through your adventures this summer as I had nothing big planned myself. I admire your positive attitude through all these troubles.

  3. Karisa

    I’m so sorry that your plans fell though again 🙁 I would be SO upset. I do think you have handled the situation really well and you’ve kept such a positive attitude. I know you’ll have these same opportunities and more in the future!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Karisa! I’ve been trying so hard to keep it together. I may still be able to salvage India…fingers crossed!! 🙂

  4. Kiera

    Oh, I am so sorry for you. While I’m glad you have friends and support to put all of these troubles in perspective, it still must hurt that you’re here in the US instead of at the start of the Mongol Rally. I think it’s perfectly OK to have a bit of a break down.

    I was in Victoria Falls five years ago. Visiting there, Botswana and South Africa was one of my most favorite trips. I want to return some day, and every time I read about someone else’s trip there, it brings back many happy memories. So thank you for sharing that with us and making me smile.

    Sending travel support good vibes to you!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Kiera! Yes, it’s great to have the support of people, but it’s definitely hard to be home. Summer is my main time to travel, as a teacher, so as the weeks tick away, and I realize I’m still home, it makes it harder!

      I visited Botswana and South Africa on that trip too….Namibia as well! It was my favorite trip in the world. I met great people and headed up to Egypt afterwards. I still say it was the best four weeks of my life. Absolutely perfect. I want to return one day as well, and visit the rest of Africa. So in love.

      Thanks again for your constant support. 🙂

  5. Michelle Byatt

    Ohh Erin
    What shame. We could have caught up with you still being in NY after all, Damn!
    I would have tried to cheer you up! Remember our lion walk?
    Take care somethings happen for a reason although we may not understand why
    Michelle

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Michelle! It’s been a rough couple of days! I wish I had been able to see you, I just thought I wouldn’t be around, and suddenly, I was. Sigh. I agree, things happen for a reason. But, so far I’ve missed you, Jade, and the Mongol Rally, hahaha.

      Yes, our lion walk was the best! I’d love to get back to Africa next year, what do you think??

  6. Sky

    I absolutely love these words of wisdom. I have a feeling that I will be mentally repeating this through my upcoming adventure.

    Sorry to hear that your plans didn’t work out – that’s always such a downfall. But I do believe things happen when they’re supposed to and sometimes the things we want don’t work out so something else can. Hopefully that is the case in this situation!

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