Having to Take my Own Advice: Flexibility

by Melissa on March 7, 2012 · 0 comments

When Chris from Aussie on The Road asked me in my Bite with a Blogger interview what my one piece of advice to travelers would be, I answered by saying “be open to change. Don’t plan too much. Go with the flow. Some of the most rewarding experiences and memories can happen when you least expect them.”  Little did I know, a mere 5 months later, I would have to take a bit my own advice and assert my flexibility.Looks like my plans of going to South East Asia for a few months are going to be put on hold.  It was not an easy decision to come to, but in my heart I know it’s the right choice.

How did I have to come to this horrible decision?
I’ve been scouring the Internet for flight deals for the last month or so that would get me from Auckland to Cape Town and back, but with a two-three month layover where I would hop around South East Asia.  Initially I found a flight for $2300NZD… not too bad, not great though.

 Just as I was about to hit the “book” button on Expedia, I received an email from Nomad Tours letting me know that the overland tour that I had booked on wasn’t looking like they were going to make the minimum number requirements – my travel partner and I would have to decide to either take the tour 3 days earlier or a week later.  We opted for the earlier tour.  However, this meant that my previous flight had now jumped nearly $500 in price!  I tried to pull all the strings I could, contacting every travel agent I knew, going to the Flight Centre here in Kaitaia, I even signed up for Flightfox.com and am still in the midst of receiving flight prices.

It was also around this time that I realized that of the three potential travel partners I had previously lined up – none would be able to travel with me during the time I was planning on being in South East Asia.  I know that it’s not the end of the world, and that I am fully capable of doing it solo, but I had already put my mind to the fact that I would be traveling with others.  I started to think that perhaps this was a sign from the universe that now is not my time to check out Asia.

Just for shits and giggles I priced out a flight from Sydney to Cape Town return and found it was nearly $1000 cheaper.  Since I was planning on travelling to Sydney with my parents mere days before my intended Africa departure date, it really wouldn’t be a big deal to stay a few extra days by myself –perhaps with some of my friends, or if worse came to worse at a hostel.

When I started discussing this with my dad, he threw out the option of checking if I would be able to get my flight on his Aeroplan frequent flyer miles.  Before I knew it, options started showing up and I was booking a flight with my dad’s frequent flyer miles.  I simply had to pay administration fees and taxes – costing me a mere $242.30.  I feel like I struck the jackpot!
 

So, no Asia? Now what?
So now that Asia is out of the equation, it means that when I am finished up in Africa, I will return to New Zealand and put my working holiday visa to use.  Since I have been quite unlucky on the job front up here in the gorgeous Far North, I will move down to a city – most likely Wellington – and try to find some work for a while before then exploring the South Island.

Since I ended up essentially getting a ‘free’ flight to Africa (in my eyes, $250 is NOTHING in comparison to the quotes I was getting of $2300, $2800, $3500, and $4100), I am hoping to spend two weeks after my overland tour volunteering at a Lion Rehabilitation Center in Victoria Falls.  Here is a link to the program I have enquired about – African Impact: Lion Conservation Volunteer Program.  I will not only have the opportunity to volunteer with the lions; I have the opportunity to teach school children of the importance of conservation, and visit a local orphanage!  I figure I can put the money I was going to spend on a flight towards participating in the volunteer program, as it would be such an incredible and possibly life changing experience.

Ultimately I feel like I am going to be quite happy with this decision.  Everything seems to be falling into place, as if it’s meant to be – as if the universe is agreeing with me that this Plan B is the right choice (even if I know there is no right or wrong).  Initially I didn’t want to stray from my original travel plans, but I know that when I do get to Asia, I can do it properly – spend as much time as I see fit, rather than trying to squeeze it all into two or three months.  I will be able to utilize my working holiday visa here in New Zealand – something I didn’t do to its full extent in Australia –resulting in me not qualifying to participate in a 2nd year working holiday there.  The key to it all was simply taking my own advice and allowing myself to consider other options and realizing that postponing the Asian leg of my trip isn’t the end of the world.  And in the worlds of my friend Laurence from Finding the Universe, “Asia’s not going anywhere.”

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