“Antony station, change here for Orly Airport”. Time is a tricky parameter: it flies when in the company of a good book but drags when I sit idle, races when I’m running late but stubbornly stands still when I’m waiting.
Traveling can be difficult when you’re staying in the suburbs and yes, we were in zone 5 (30 minutes from an RER station). We were going to CDG airport to board a flight to Prague, eager to execute all the planning that had consumed a good amount of time over the last month (not to mention the time we had spent daydreaming). I looked up to see a lady struggling with her suitcase. She managed to get in just in time and “whoop” the doors shut as if obeying the loud siren’s stern command to do so. Phew! The look of relief on her face was affirmed by many around her. Meanwhile, backpackers were hurrying towards the exit, excited about their journey, to see all those places that look unbelievably beautiful on Google images and to discover the unknown…..We were excited too. We were ‘à l’heure’ so far. We discussed places to visit in order of priority and so on. Our train came to a halt at the Gare du Nord and we heard there would be a delay due to an incident. Our expressions changed from super excited to grief-stricken within seconds. The trains were back on track after about 45 minutes. Given the unfortunate delay, we knew we would have a race against time. As our train approached CDG, we knew that our flight would be taking off in 5 minutes. We hoped against hope for some kind of delay. Optimistically, we hopped off the RER B at CDG and ran towards the boarding gate but alas it had already closed! We knew it was our mistake for not leaving a larger time-margin to allow for unforeseen delays. Unable to look at our luggage, we tried to think of what to do. If only we didn’t stay so far out in the suburbs. If only we had known about the problem in the RER…IF ONLY! Our excitement drowned in a pool of ‘if onlys’ and left us in complete silence.
Finally, I broke the silence by saying, “So what if we can’t go to Prague? Let’s go to Vienna and then take a bus to Prague!” A crazy idea. Plan B. My friend looked at me as if I was crazy, but within seconds, she started working out the feasibility! Having researched a lot, we knew about the bus service between Vienna and Prague. Asking about for prices, we found that the Paris-Vienna flight was earlier and somewhat cheaper than Paris-Prague. Thus, we set out on a real adventure, taking the flight to Vienna that was just boarding. Once there, we roamed about the city at night…The tram (as seen in ‘Before Sunrise’), the cathedral, the giant wheel…It all looked beautiful and majestic at night. We felt happy about our spur of the moment decision. We stayed awake all night, taking in the essence of the city that was our Plan B. We caught the bus at dawn and were on our way back to the original track. Woohoo! The rest of the trip went as planned. We had already had our part of the adventure and running about.
Now, when I look back on this I feel as happy and excited as I felt then. It was the most adventurous and memorable trip ever. I think it is the little inconveniences of our daily life that add up to something, someday!
As GK Chesterton rightly put it, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered”.
As the Christmas season approaches, I hope you have a great time holidaying with your loved ones and maybe get to enjoy some adventure along the way!