What a gift to spend the holidays with the people you love. Those who warm your heart, more than enough to pull me through the cold Dutch winter. Recommended for anyone who can make it possible to get a trip out of your own life and fall back in the warm nest of love. An excellent opportunity to realize how much you have built up over the years. On a silver tray I was given the millions of reasons to stay and only one to go. So I went, headstrong and face forward. Looking for that what extends life, which empowers every soul, willing or not; adventure.
A known and rich man told me once that a plane ticket is the most beautiful gift you ever can give. Not just to go far and wide. Not because the buildings are so beautiful and different over there. Not because we like swimming in the pool, which is conveniently located next to your hotel room or to discover how many historical pots and pans they have collected at the local museum. I’m always pretty excited about of all this, but the power of your ticket is in the ground. Knowledge and fortify buried around the world and gathered billions of treasure hunters. Growth is always unexpected, somewhere on the line of your comfort zone and real life:
Istanbul is grasped by a snowstorm. Six hours in a stationary flight, seven more hours in line at the airport and another three sleepy hours spent on transportation and breakfast services. When 20,000 people are simultaneously ending up at the airport, things are all over the place. Hopeless with my suitcase in no-one’s land, I stumbled from gate to gate. Got parked in the wrong queue. Nobody could give me any answers. With a visa in my pocket I walked towards the security who by then had widely opened the gates, since the number of people was larger than the airport could offer space. With growing bags under my eyes and tired limbs I stepped into the next row, where people joined the same boat and started conversations. Thus I meet a man whose marriage was about to take place in two days’ time. With his head in the clouds, he still had both feed on the ground and moved by this story I started following him. At one point he had received priority and the guarantee of joining the first flight towards his home country. Unfortunately, I lost sight of him and I’m not aware if he has been able to reassure his fiancee in time. Meanwhile, I teamed up with an Englishman to start the fight for a hotel and a new ticket, when we bombed into a young American girl who was close to desperation and fear dreaded of her face. For a good reason though. Where one gets tired and frustrated by uncertainties, a riot starts with turbulent personalities. Within a few minutes I gained the experience of two fights and this proved to have a quick domino effect. But difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. For example, the Englishman appeared to have been conducting the musical Les Misérables at West End for years, the American girl now also lives in my room at the Hilton which has soon developed into a true friendship and I have just been drinking coffee with a Lebanese who steers submarines.
After hours of “exploring” the airport unfortunately our bus got stuck in the snow, so the last 15 minutes we had to walk towards the hotel. Elderly, children, men with heavy suitcases. The screen could have been black and white. Within sight the hotel at the top of the hill, we all crawled through the heavy layers of snow. People felled, bags were left behind, women cried, mothers grasping for clothes to cover their children. In a snowstorm every minute is too much. My hands turned blue and my hip started failing because the cold wind was literally freezing my body. I picked up people from what looked like mountains of snow. The crying and misery seemed endless. The panic that can strike within a few minutes causes an unreal scene where people start helping each other without a doubt and all of the sudden they become one. The door to the hotel was accidentally closed and someone with a mental defect seemed willing to jump right trough. Over a hundred of people bouncing on the windows seemed to be the way out of this storm. When access was given, it changed from one for all, all for one to each person for themselves, struggling their way in. Elderly people having respiratory problems, children were given warm blankets and tears dried up.
Ending up in the Hilton, a safe haven, in a country where I did not want to be but what might just not be that horrid. How an incident like this can be so enriching.
A few minutes back my new roommate and I heard a plane and both spontaneously started dancing on the king-size bed. In a couple of days, I squeak my dancing toes in the sand of the beautiful Omani beach, forgotten all about the long queue’s, thinking of the great new people I met.