During this world trip we have done and experienced some amazing things, 80% of them booked and planned for. We have seen some of the wonders of the world, eaten some of the tastiest specialty dishes and stayed at some of the most beautiful places in the world. The truth is that many times they are better in thought and imagination than in real life. Sometimes in real life the weather is just too hot and humid, too many tourists around, a price rip off, service is disappointing or a thousand other reasons make these real life experiences a disappointment compared to our imagined or expected experience.
On the other hand we are sometimes pleasantly surprised by something we had no great expectations of. When this happens make sure you enjoy it, as it’s a special and wonderful time which touches your life in the most memorable way.
During our trip we have had several such moments of life happening in ways we couldn’t have planned for.
What follows is one such experience that we will remember and be thankful for a long time.
We had a 7 hour flight from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur on a low cost carrier. Don’t get me wrong Asian low costs carriers are good, as they are friendly and make you feel welcome but expectedly the seats are just a little closer together, you pay for food or drinks and there are no entertainment screens on board the flight. As our flight from Kuala Lumpur was delayed we had a 17 hour stay at the airport before our next flight to Sydney of another 8 hours. This sounds like a scarry and terrifying situation when you have three kids excited to arrive in Australia for an epic road trip.
None the less, our travel experience has ensured that we are often surprised by the bad situations. This alternate mindset also contributes to turning negative situations into positive memorable experiences. We decided to use Google and see if we could stay at a transit hotel within the airport terminal, instead of squattering in the corners of the airport as we had initially planned.
Sama-Sama Transit Hotel popped up and with it so did our spirits. This hotel would be different to the other 30 hotels we have been through during our journey, as this hotel is paid for by the hour, it is window less but most importantly we didn’t expect much from it.
We booked one room for all five of us, which entitled us to one double bed. We paid for three extra breakfasts of which the receptionist kindly offered us one of them for free (thanks to our kids being cute, polite and trained to smile on queue).
As it was 06h00 we were tired and went through to the room to catch some shut eye before breakfast. The room was fresh, cleverly laid out and super comfortable which was exactly what we needed, so easily surpassing our relaistic expectations.
Four of us lay on the bed, with legs and arms intertwined like spaghetti, while Elena our little girl lay on the floor with a makeshift bed using jackets and towels. Soon we were all in a deep sleep and recovering from the previous tough flight. Once we had a good three hour power sleep, we got up for breakfast. It was just the perfect breakfast selection topped up with really good coffee. The special ingredients we added ourselves with laughs and jokes as we discussed how awesome this place really was. We shared videos, watched sport on a mega sized big screen in a modern and super comfortable lounge just for us. Ice cream and drinks were free and the full view of the runway was also included so we saw various planes taking-off and landing in between updating us on premiership football.
We could not have booked or planned for such an experience. We could only have prepared our minds and hearts to be open for such possibilities in order to make them real experiences when the time and situation presented itself. I will always remember us all on the bed, eating breakfast, watching the big screen and planes but most of all I will remember the luxury of time we had to be able to enjoy these simple unexpected experiences together.
Further good news was that during our flight to Kuala Lumpur the Springboks won the Rugby Championship by beating Argentina and Tottenham Hotspurs came from behind to win their opening premiership match.
I did also think of Tom Hanks in the movie “TERMINAL” but this was our own movie staring the Vieira’s in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA2) making memories and tackling one challenge at a time together.
One more thing, it’s great to be 7 hours ahead of Lisbon as no one seems to need me !!!