I’m heading back out to Moldova next week and, as always, I’ve agonised over the flights that I’d use. I could take an easy route and change planes in Vienna or Amsterdam, but that raises the fare substantially, or I can use one of the ‘lesser’ carriers and change in Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul, or Kiev. And I try to visualise each airport in making weighing my decision, because some of the airports leave a less than palatable memory. What I love most about these physical parts of the journey is the feeling of heightened senses I have when I’m forced to practice my languages, or see new sights, hear new sounds and experience new tastes and smells. They are all stimulating and enjoyable. But part of what makes it so enriching is that it’s a dislocation from the familiar. I think about the emotions and feelings of the travellers I watch scurrying about and of their heartfelt partings at one end, and joyful reconciliations at the other; that delicious and unreal feeling that the departure lounge gives when you have already cut the umbilical cord, suspended in unreality between one life and another. And then there is the wonderful sense of uncertainty - of arriving somewhere totally unknown and on your own; having to rely for help and guidance on people whom you don't know and may never meet again.
But I’ve learned over the years to realise that it isn’t the safety of familiarity and friends I leave behind. It is the new friends I will make during my journey that will enrich my life.
And perhaps, just as has happened so many times before, my path will cross with someone. And from that chance meeting, something profound will occur that will cause me to remember the moment for the rest of my life.
It is when those moments happen that I am reminded there is no such thing as chance. Now, Lord, if You would just help me a bit with my sense of direction…
Labels: alternate stopover cities, Moldova destinations, unusual holidays, Volunteer in Moldova, volunteer vacations