When I’m packing for a trip abroad, I’m freaking out. ‘Will I forget something?’, biggest question is ‘How to fit everything into this suitcase?’ Biggest apprehension is: ‘Will it burst open on the way?’
Once the journey begins, Immediately, I move to ‘enjoying travel’ mode. Instagram and Facebook time, full time! Almost.? I’m conscious of the fact that screen less time is more important.
During Trip Abroad:
We are busy putting in shopping, sightseeing, visits, meetings, and eating out…
I think we miss out on some important things during that trip. We need to focus more on:
Real important things:
Opportunity to think:
The opportunity to think from the space between our everyday lives, and being at a distance from it. This is the perfect time to ‘see’ one’s own self and life.
Best time to re-align one’s self:
During this travel, I used my time in learning a lot through the YouTube videos. (I rarely get time at home.)
In one of them, it said, how important it is to have SPACE between activities. To be able to recuperate and to be able to have those ‘eureka’ moments of understanding.
Eureka moments happen:
When you drop everything to say prayers, -that is a form of space – ideas start hitting you as you pray, and you say,
‘I cannot concentrate on my prayers, my mind wanders!’ I feel that Allah blesses us by solving our current ‘problems’ which we couldn’t handle earlier.
We invariably get back from the prayer having solved the problem.
For some it happens during walks, sleep or shower.
Finding your inner self:
During my travels, I was hit by certain thoughts; Undeniable realities in my life, which had become the norm. I realized, they had no right to be the ‘norm’ in my life. Because they didn’t belong there. Sometimes, it takes a lot of space and travel to be able to realize it.
Thoughts during my latest trip abroad:
Allah blesses you
I was enjoying things I couldn’t have even dreamed about! So, just leave it to Him. He can bless you far beyond your imagination. He does these things through his angels: In my case, it was the wonderful persons I stayed with and met there. Their love and generosity was overwhelming.
I realized why suicide is never an option:
- I couldn’t help remembering times in my life, when I was so low, that I had thought, ‘If I believed in suicide, this is the time to do it.’ But my faith in God kept me going in spite of facing roughest of times.
- During this trip I was so happy, I realized why God doesn’t want you to ‘go ahead’ with suicide or die . No, it is wrong to ask Him for your own death even, which I had done. He knows best, you don’t! (Also, accept a loved one’s death, because He who knows best about when it should take place, as it will be for our own.)
- Have faith. Faith is what you have when there is nothing in front or behind you to keep you going. You still keep going…
- I was grateful because somehow, I had managed to hold on during those dark times. (Yes, I’m hinting at all those of you, who are right now going through a dark patch. Believe me, you are definitely in the Best Hands, right now. Just be patient.)
- Alhamdolillah. Just thanking Allah for every minute, every blessing and specially the overwhelming generosity of my loved ones at every step. I was given care, kindness, understanding and so much love.
Enjoy travel times:
You are a tourist, notice things and express yourself. Remember sometimes the journey is as exciting as the destination.
Fear of Long flights:
- Book your seat in advance. You can choose food preferences, and if you will need a wheelchair, in advance. Check a day before about it. Previously, I’d go for the window seat. Then I realized you get stuck. So, now I ask for an isle seat, as then you can get up as often as you like. Exercise is very important.
- People are overwhelmed by the ‘travel time’ of fourteen hours straight flight. During flight, I see almost all passengers glued to their phones, iPad and screens. Or sleeping. Hey, you can do all that at home! Here is an opportunity to meet people:
- Meet this person sitting next to you. To exchange views with them, without being intrusive or disturbing. So, I usually break the ice, by introducing myself, and express my interest in them.
- When I did this (on way from Calgary to Halifax,) with Donnie, who is a psychologist, she ended up saying, ‘this was the best journey of my life!’ See? This is what I mean. It was the same with Robert and Carrie, who are architects and builders in Halifax. We were sitting together on my way from Halifax to Toronto. The conversation ended up by him asking me, ‘Have you ever thought of being a diplomat?’ (Hmmmm, I hadn’t!)
- I met a lovely young mother and child on PIA flight from Islamabad to Toronto. Her daughter was so well behaved and we had lovely conversations too.
- It was the same on my flight back from Toronto to Islamabad. What I admired about that young mother Amina was that she kept her two-year-old son well entertained with the toys she had brought along in a bag. All screen-free. So, they landed in a happy state, as the rest of the plane was full of mostly screaming kids with cribbing mothers.
- To do kindness to fellow passengers who may need help. One lady was apprehensive of getting locked in the washroom, so I stood outside for her till she came out. Then she stood outside for me, till I came out. (Yes, I have that fear too!) Many have apprehensions during take off and landing, it is good to involve them in a conversation at that time to divert them and yourself. (Of course, you have already said your travel prayer.)
- Have a chat with the crew, when they have time. In one of the flights, I had a lovely chat with an air hostess, she even shared her fruit lunch with me. Make sure your are not being obtrusive.
- To be cooperative and patient, so the staff of the plane are able to do their work.
- If the washroom is all wet, – wipe it up with tissues! (Instead of complaining.)
- Say prayers, and even some extra naffals, as it is a known fact that prayers are more accepted during travel. (Because at 33,000 feet above sea level we are closer to our Maker!) Yes, my dear followers, I prayed for you all too, as it was your prayers that were at work for me too.
- Yes, you are right, I did write my blog posts during flight too.
- Plan your time well: Usually, I divide my time and plan it out. Sleep time, chat time, exercise, prayers, reading, contemplation, meditation. Time flies as I fly.
- Walk every hour or two. One must get up and stretch out, drink plenty of water, also have some juices, use lotion on face and hands, as the air gets dry.
My biggest thought while packing:
‘Will I get this much time, for my final journey?’ Things like ‘what to keep?’ and ‘what to leave?’ Ha, ha, we know. None of these material things will be going with us! Yes, we shall travel light then.
Yet, it would need ‘packing of another sort’.
Come to think about it, that packing is an on-going process. As my friend Seema and Mentor Mahjabeen keep reminding me to focus on the next life more. I want to say,
‘Yes, I’m packing already!’
Let us start packing for that final journey (also):
As we don’t know when and where it would be, so better be ready. So, what would I be taking with me?
- Prayers of loved ones.
- Sadqa and charity given.
- My writing, (yes, blogs, books, articles etc. are my sadqa-e-jaria.)
- Paintings, which are meaningful. This is why interpreting Iqbal’s verses and Rumi along with painting landscapes gives me joy, as it will make the onlooker feel good.
- Any piece of work that makes a difference in someone else’s life.
- Kind acts. The work being done to help others is the only work worth doing.
- Give away your own things, with your own hands: Believe me, it will be given away, anyway. See that smile of happiness on the face of the recipient. (Even if that smile is missing, you know, Allah would be smiling, above.)
- Not being a burden on anyone. To plan things in such a way, so one isn’t a drain, on anyone, specially one’s loved ones till the last day of one’s life.
Pack on a daily basis:
- When life turns sour and is very hard to bear, just being patient is enough.
- Being silent at such times is also important, and the most difficult.
- To say that nice word, to make someone feel better. Avoid saying awful words that come to one’s mind.
- Give that smile to another, when he or she is feeling low.
- Be there for a stranger or loved one, when they are in pain or feeling low.
- Getting aware of others, and seeing their needs, before they have to ask.
- Giving a validation to another by giving attention.
So as I was saying, ‘lets keep packing our bags, as we go!’
Stay blessed, my lovely Reader. Love you so much for your prayers for my family and myself.
Of course, I prayed for you too. May your lives be filled with health, happiness, fun, love and enrichment.
In short – Stay blessed. ?