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My Unforgettable Trip

That negligence and carelessness can cause immense difficulties is what I learned from a recent event in my life. My excessive anxiety to join my family and enjoy the holidays in my native land made me very forgetful about the travel norms. In fact, I deserved more punishment, but I luckily overcame the hurdles with patience and determination, and the result was that I enjoyed my holidays in a much better way than I desired. I was on my vacation to Beijing, China. It was not my first vacation. I used to visit Beijing at least once in a year. I left China seven years ago to take up my higher studies in America.

As most of my family lives in Beijing, I have not felt any kind of loneliness or a sense of cultural distance. However, home is home. As the days approached to my travel date, I became quite restless and enacted in my mind the pleasant get-together that awaited me far away in Beijing. Initially I had some travel fright, so that I would check and recheck my bags and all the important papers to make sure that was not going to be penalized for lack of authentic travel documents at the airport. I made an inside pocket in my sweatshirt and I always safely placed my wallet, passport, and ticket inside it.

This time I repeated all these rituals precisely. It was after a 23-hour trip when I reached Beijing Airport, and I was reminded by the airport authorities that my visa has expired two days before I started my journey. I knew that a valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit China and must be obtained from Chinese Embassies and Consulates before traveling to China. The sad thing was, I did not think of getting the visa extended, nor did my parents remind me about it. The option given to me at the airport was to fly back to the U. S. or go to Hong Kong to get my travel visa stamped again.

It takes exactly three days to go through the official procedures. My wallet was almost empty, as I needed no extra cash with me when I was going to join my family. The only option for me was to stay at the airport. A room at the airport costs around $ 300. Words are inadequate to explain the torture of spending more than two days by sitting and walking in the passenger room at the airport. I was cursing myself for being negligent. One must check and recheck all the papers before one begins his journey; let my experience be a warning to all travelers. I felt like eating, but I was short of cash.

I realized the immense value of food and bed at the airport. An American sitting beside me was having beer after beer, and then he went for a mighty eating. Sleep would conquer me, but some sound or some announcement would wake me up. I wanted to take a bath, not just to get clean but also to get relaxed and possibly be able to take a short nap in the bathtub. The worst is the need to change my inner garments. I lacked the courage to keep my bag unattended anywhere for fear that I might lose it and further complicate my situation. I definitely wanted nothing else but be somewhere else where it is safe and comfortable – like home.

I was continuously cursing through my mind about the incident, although I always realized thereafter that there was no other person to blame but myself. If I should have been more careful, I would not have let myself be stuck in a very unfulfilling and very humiliating predicament. The problem then was how to get through it and be able to feel renewed after I have gone through it. I know it might have looked simple enough for some, as there are those persons who could endure staying in a certain place without having to do important things (such as eating or taking a bath).

In many ways I would like to think that it was also a test for my patience and creativity. I mean, being stuck in an enclosed space without enough money and food and with only enough confidence to go through the situation is hardly comprehendible. It was like wasting time for nothing. However, I made a realization that it was not totally out of context with respect to how life should be valued. Patience is a vital thing that could make a person endure a difficult circumstance and be able to achieve an end goal. Being responsible about things, however minute or insignificant they seem to be, should be put as a primary consideration.

Prioritizing things should also be accounted for. When I became so excited about going home and personally rekindling the ties I have with my family, I was so worked up about only feeling happy that I was not putting more attention to things that would be needed in attaining that happiness. In spite of the hardships I encountered due to my own negligence and carelessness, I do not regret what happened because it taught me to be cautious in the future. I have personally taken an oath to be double cautious hereafter, and I shall recheck the needed things before I embark on any journey.

I will keep a note of the things to be done before a journey, and the papers to be checked and carried before the trip. It is absolutely true that one learns from experience. I have decided to extend the application of this precious lesson to all the other areas in my life. Nothing should be taken for granted. As a final say, I was never happier to see my family after the airport incident. They barraged me with questions, and I was only so happy to answer while keeping in mind that another lesson was learned and that it would probably become an important facet in my life.

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