January 23, 2004
First lesson in non-attachment
I departed my apartment on the afternoon of January 20th en route to Newark Airport. I had not slept in days, yet I was energized with excitement to begin my journey.
The trip began instantly as my flight was cancelled, my bags were lost and I was forced to gain perspective on what I need for this journey we call life.
I arrived at the Air India terminal and was met by a mob of Indian people all who were calmly gathered in a mass that they defined as a line (I could not decipher where it began or where it ended), and the subtle aroma of curry (yes curry, I guess it was emanating from their pores which was making me very hungry). After chatting with a few people I came to realize that yesterday's flight to Bombay via Paris was cancelled and thus these people were all waiting to be assigned seats on my flight. The New Yorker in me walked right past the mass/line to the desk to enquire. I was informed that my flight was being cancelled as they were going to fill my flight with passengers from yesterdayís flight. Thus I was instructed to wait until they were done booking in yesterday's passengers at which time todayís passengers would be attended to and receive further instructions. I asked where I should wait and they said "anywhere but here." I was a little frustrated with the lack of organization and the fact that I needed to wait around for hours only to return home and wait on line again tomorrow, but I was not too upset as I had no deadlines or responsibilities waiting on me in Paris. Besides I figured I could go home and catch up on that sleep I had missed out on over the last week and arrive at my friend Magda's rested.
I soon made friends with this really cool Indian couple who were en route to Bombay for a wedding. Together we found other people who were supposed to be on our flight and started a line which gave me a sense of comfort (we all know how I appreciate structure). Within two hours our line was moving and representatives were directing us on where to go based on our final destination. When asked where I was going to, I replied "Paris" as I was planning to visit my girl Magda for a few days before continuing on to Bombay. I was quickly informed to go to the front of the line as they would likely be able to get me on todayís flight since I was getting off at the first stop. Sure enough I was given my boarding pass and told to go straight to the gate. While I had already decided to accept that I was going home, I was thrilled that I would, indeed be departing NY tonight.
Once on board all was great. I got four seats all to myself where I slept from the moment I sat down. I loved be offered "chicken or vegetarian meal" rather than the typical "chicken or beef" offer of most airlines. And the vegetarian curry dinner was AWESOME -- the best airline food I have ever had!!!! It certainly curbed the curry craving I was having from the airport aroma.
Our flight arrived on time and about 6 people got off in Paris, 3 of which were booked on yesterdayís flight. Those three passengers started getting concerned when their luggage didn't show up immediately. I told them to have a little faith, it would arrive, and within a few minutes it did. I can not say the same for the rest of us. We waited for almost an hour before accepting the fate of our luggage as lost. We completed the necessary paper work and were told our bags would likely be delivered to us by tomorrow. Acting like an unattached and seasoned traveler I picked up my good attitude again and found pleasure in the fact that I did not have to lug my own bag to Magda's place and that I was traveling light enough to take a bus into the city rather than shell out all of that cash for a cab. I pursued to the Air France shuttle stop where buses to Paris are scheduled to depart every 12 minutes. After 35 minutes had gone by I asked some other patient travelers what was happening and they explained "there is a strike". I could tell by the way they said it, that this was a regular occurrence here. We all waited another 30 minutes or so before I asked a young woman and man if they wanted to split a cab, which they did. Soon enough we were on the road and within an hour I arrived at Magda's.
Paris is rainy and cold but the pulse is quite lively. I have spent most of my time here apartment hunting with Magda as she is looking to buy a place (it is a very cool way to see a city by wandering in and out of peoples homes). I have also spent a lot of time trying to get through to the airport re: my bags. When I did not hear from anyone after 30 hours or so I tried to call only to find the line busy every single time. I must have called 50 times on Wednesday and Thursday with no success in getting through.
As more time passed with no communication my positive attitude started to fade. I was starting to realize that if my bags did not arrive by Saturday I would have to replace everything I had spent the past four months carefully selecting for my trip in one day as I was not sure I would be able to find what I was looking for in India. I started creating imaginary lists in my head of what items were critical and what I could do without (the funny thing is I realized how much I packed that I really do not need). Stress was creeping in and I was not happy about it!!!!
Thus I decided to sit my but down on the floor and meditate to gain some clarity and perspective. After an hour of meditation constantly interrupted with thoughts of "don't forget to get some Cipro" or "remember to get the really good bug repellant", I came to realize everything I NEEDED, my health, my wits and my sense of adventure, I already had. Everything else was extra. I decided I would get what I could and that would be exactly what I needed to have, cest la vie.
Within the hour, and thanks to the assistance of my friend Hilah, I was able to get through to the airport to find out my bags were in Paris and they would be calling me soon to make arrangements for their delivery. As I sat here writing this message, my bags were delivered. Ahh, the magic of being unattached to help everything align.
In addition to the great lesson of keeping things in perspective that I learned from all of this, I have also decided to remove a third of the items in my bag that I do not need. This seemingly bad occurrence is a gift after all as I will be traveling lighter literally and figuratively through the rest of this journey.
Stay tuned for more stories upon my arrival in Bombay on the 27th of January.
Posted by Jyllt at January 23, 2004 06:59 PM
Wow, Jyll. You get to start out with some of the least enjoyable parts of travel. You get to work out some of the kinks right away, and thus you are better prepared for whatever lies ahead. I look forward to reading your updates. You will be in my thoughts and prayers all the way.
Traveling mercies, Gail
Posted by: Gail Henderson-Belsito at January 25, 2004 11:28 PM
Wonderful stuff. I feel as if I'm indeed on your journey. A very late idea: But why not try to pitch your journey to a major paper, let's say, The New York Times? I have no influence at the Times, but I can check with a friend who might at least have a contact for you, if you're interested. If anyone else has a contact, please let Jyll know.
Posted by: Janet Dewart Bell at January 26, 2004 12:56 AM
That is a great idea, especially if it could give me a little extra travel cash!!! If anyone has any contacts or idea at the times or another publication that you think might be interested let me know.
Posted by: Jyll at January 26, 2004 02:16 AM
Thanks for the update on what could be up ahead for me in a week or so. I am having my own share of interesting "adjustments" and expressions of flexibility.
I think it's great that you began in Paris, but more importantly, that you began by sharing your time with someone special in your life. what a great precursor to what you will spend the rest of the next 9 months or so doing.
I ma thrilled to be included in the list and on the updates and will look forward to sharing your inner/outer voyage as well as sharing some of mine with you. I am sending you an invite to join my website as well, in case you want to compare notes.
Looking forward to seeing you in Nepal.
my spiritual name
Posted by: roberto at January 26, 2004 04:42 AM
All these years you thought that your power was being generated by your severly puckered anal aperture. And now it seems that a significant amount of evidence supports quite the opposite. This trip you are taking us on is already quite profound and poignant.
I am thinking of you everyday.
Love and Kisses,
Posted by: Kenny at January 26, 2004 08:13 PM
You are indeed off to an appropriate start for coming to India. Don't forget to rebuy those earplugs while repacking. The Saraswati Celebration in full swing the past three days has the music blarring night and day..and don't forget to laugh if on of the young boys "dusts" you in the face with a handfull of flour..I got it twice today..but they missed me (mostly). I am thinking about heading toward Mumbai and then back up the coast as I am extending my stay to attend some teachings in March. Perhaps we can connect. My thoughts are with Bobbi as I have some sort of connection with the Burmese monks and Burma just keeps coming up over and over. By the way, nice pic ;) Also want to say that I love the way you have set up your correspondence..very nice..I could learn a thing or two. Hold on to your hat and also the luggage rack if you happen to be riding on top of a trekker with 20 people!
om peace, kev
(The MaharishiSwamiYogiHeyBabuGurujiHallo! kev)
Posted by: omshantikev at January 28, 2004 11:54 AM
Wow! Sounds like you started off with a BANG!!! The french!!!! Hope the rest of the trip is just as exciting!
Posted by: Schawannah at February 2, 2004 06:42 PM
I miss you girl. Still haven't found the place yet, but at least the weather's cleared up, so my search is a little easier.
Hope you're having a good time. I have been anxiously awaiting your next update; you know how I love a juicy story!
Posted by: Magda at February 2, 2004 09:46 PM
Jyll, and she's off!!!!
Remy works at the times and you have his info. Waiting for that 27th update.
Love ya and be safe and smelly
Posted by: lorna at February 3, 2004 04:23 AM
Be safe and don't forget to eat some pasta...you are part Italian too.
Posted by: Uncle Tom at February 3, 2004 05:34 PM
Travel would be no fun without a few glitches to test our mettle. It looks like so far you are doing just fine!
I'll be interested to see if you manage to organize more people/lines along the way or if eventually you start to melt into the curry scented melee. Only time will tell....
It was great to see you in Paris, if ever so briefly.
Posted by: Hilah at February 7, 2004 12:52 PM