Perhaps a long-time coming, I’ve finally messed up with my travel plans. I won’t say it’s entirely my fault…I just was being tragically optimistic with scheduling, bureaucracy and flight-booking. Which leaves me today without a confirmed flight booking, without an entry visa to my next destination and with a very soon-to-be expired tourist visa for my current location. What’s a boy to do?
Hopefully this post won’t become the first installment of a multi-part series, though it’s very likely I’ll screw up again.
This all began last month when I needed to extend my tourist visa for Israel so that I could remain at my internship for a few extra weeks. In order to extend my visa I had to have a confirmed booking out of the country, so in a last-minute purchase, I picked a date, time and a place. My Israeli tourist visa was extended. I knew where I’d be for Halloween. Everything was in its proper place.
Days and weeks passed. I was distracted and didn’t get around to applying for my Indian tourist visa until two weeks ago. This is where I started to rely a little too heavily on my recent streak of good luck: they told me my visa would be ready in 8-10 business days. My flight (and the end validity of my Israeli tourist visa) was exactly 10 business days away.
Which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem except for the fact that (being the budget backpacker that I am), I chose a flight from Jordan not Israel. It was half the price even if it would entail a bus ride and land border crossing to get to Amman, Jordan. I kept my fingers crossed and just hoped I could get my Indian visa in 8 days, rather than the maximum 10 expected. If I succeeded in getting it by then, I could easily catch a bus from Israel to Jordan with a full day to spare in Amman before my flight. Ahh to be young and optimistic again!
Day 8 passed. On Day 9 (yesterday), I thought: well, if I still manage to get the visa, I can make an early-morning dash to the border, passport in hand, and head straight to the airport. I’d probably even have time for dinner.
That brings us to today. At the moment: no news on my visa, my passport still at the Indian embassy. My Israeli tourist visa expires tomorrow. Even if I manage to retrieve my passport tomorrow, by the time I get to the border, it’ll be closed. You see, there’s this Jewish thing called Shabbat and buses stop, borders close because of it. Oh yeah, and because Israel ended daylight savings time already, it’s actually quite impossible to get to Amman in time for my flight.
So what’s the plan? I’m not panicking. If there’s one thing that backpacking has taught me it’s that things are often out of my control. And there’s little I can do about it (especially after the fact). Yes, I could have requested my Israeli tourist visa to be extended a few days past my flight in case of emergency. Yes I could have applied for my Indian tourist visa days (or even weeks) earlier. Yes I could have paid the extra money to not have to deal with an extra (and seemingly unnecessary) border crossing. But I didn’t.
So that leaves me with a tiny shell of a plan. But one I’m not going to rely on. Plans change. That’s one thing I’m certain of. Even when they’re solidly booked and paid for.