We sit in gridlock traffic on a Paris highway, inching toward the bus station still miles away.
I’ve obtained a stellar next-day buzz having slept from 8 AM to 10 AM post-discotheque.
The bus expected to take me to London departs in minutes.
My heart, pounding; my mind, calm.
A mantra: I trust, I trust.
Traveling will unveil who you are—when apart from everyone you know, with only strangers watching, your true nature presents itself.
I was fortunate to have some of the most beautiful people in my life with me for most of my European journey. However the moments that most challenged, thrilled and awakened me in a way I’d not experienced were spent alone.
Of course, traveling alone as a small female can be quite the gamble.
It could be an incredible adventure that shapes you as an individual, that transforms your life, or the one where you’re raped and murdered. The key for myself was never letting the latter enter my mind. This may have been trying under customary circumstances, but the series of events which brought me to that place made fear obsolete.
My Google Maps took us to the wrong address.
My cousin translated the directions in French to her ill-fated fiancé who had the task of getting me to my destination.
Five of us, packed like sardines, in a petite European car, a tremendous traffic jam kept us stagnant on that Sunday afternoon.
Locating the bus station required 15 minutes of panic-stricken wandering to find.
The sum of these seemingly unfortunate circumstances put me at the Eurolines Station at a specific time, thus communicating to me what should be done. What seemed to be my only choice was to sit at the less than luxurious bus station for the duration of the day, waiting to sit on a bus for seven hours to arrive in London at approximately five in the morning.
As I searched my mind for alternatives, my eyes found a map displaying all Eurolines destinations and routes. A dream in the hearts of all marijuana enthusiasts (which I had tried to dampen) was suddenly permeating through my body. As I told my cousin of my new potential destination, an LED sign read Amsterdam 1600 HR. Departing in 15 minutes.
And it was done.
The result was pure bliss.
Being alone in an unfamiliar environment forced me to take any fear, any uncertainty that surfaced and turn it to love. Love for myself, for my surroundings, for the people I didn’t know but who were brought into my existence to help and guide me, consciously connected, experiencing and enhancing this world we see.
In trusting my instincts and my abilities to listen to my guide within, I grew closer to myself and my true being, more appreciative and in love with my spirit and where it dwells. Away from the weight of familiar society, my anxieties faded. The pressure to be who I’ve been, who I’m expected to be, dissolved.
I am myself.
Whole and complete, grateful for this moment, knowing all of my decisions have been right, to bring me to this place at this time with this indescribable feeling.
It’s a delightfully frightening dance choosing risks worth taking; we can certainly see such situations as coincidence, a fortunate happenstance, or simply “meant to be.” But I prefer to see it as a divine example of the universe organizing and reorganizing in order to fulfill its’ own specific purpose—our happiness and growth, transforming ourselves into more loving beings.
As I sit on a bus heading spontaneously to Amsterdam, appreciative of a fortuitous accident, I am in awe of the connectedness I feel to the universe, to my source, and thrive on the communication and trust I now have secured within me.
Travel and yoga enthusiast Melissa Stokoski is a certified Holistic Health Coach. Spiritual writing is her passion and can be read at here.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise