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Kirsty's Travel Blog

Best laid plans

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 2 January 2013 | Views [408]

Only three sleeps now till I take off on my year of adventure! Months in the planning, this trip will be unlike any of the travel I’ve done before. For a start, I will be on my own for the first month in South East Asia, and then again in Europe. No one to meet me at the airport or translate for me - I have to make all the decisions myself! And this time round I won’t just be a tourist. With the luxury of time on my side, I can spend several months revisiting Kolkata, Bangladesh and the UK. Living with friends and family, volunteering and working will allow me to really get to know the communities and cultures of each place. I will be making myself available to help out in whatever ways are needed, sharing my time, skills and experiences, but also listening to and learning from others.

“If you prepare yourself at every point as well as you can… you will be able to grasp opportunity for broader experience when it appears” – Eleanor Roosevelt

My planning for this trip has been like having a second job at times. The stack of paperwork – visa applications, CVs, e-tickets, hotel vouchers, tours, insurance – and the hundreds of emails that have flicked back and forth; the lists are almost all ticked off. I have tried to plan ahead as much as possible so that once I’m out there I can relax and enjoy every moment.

But at what point does preparedness cross the line into obsession? When does planning and organisation become a futile effort to control the unknowable future – an exercise that leads to anxiety about events that will probably never happen?

James 4:13-15 “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I hope that I’ve managed to strike a balance that will allow me the freedom to explore and take opportunities that I can’t see yet, while still being confident that I have places to stay and ways of getting where I need to go. I have tried to be a responsible traveller without being a control freak. I am learning to trust in my God, who has always provided everything I need and has opened so many doors to make this year happen.

And when I start to panic about all the things that could happen, I remember that:  “Nothing irredeemable can happen to you”. I picked up this quote from a sermon. I can’t remember who said it, but it has stuck with me during this whole planning phase. 2013 will bring amazing experiences, and probably some not so great experiences. I probably will encounter difficulties, inconveniences and maybe even dangers. But nothing that will happen to me will ever be so bad as to be irredeemable.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

And that, rather than my planning, is what gives me confidence stepping into the unknown world.

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