Saturday, February 16, 2013

What's The Hurry About?

After wrapping up my volunteer stint at the Elephant Valley Project (more about that later!) I wanted to head down to Sihanoukville, which is on the southern coast of Cambodia. While nothing terrible happened on the trip there it took a lot longer than it should have. It had me pretty annoyed, until I got reminded of something along the way.

After a relatively late Friday night of pizza and wine with fellow elephant volunteers, another couple and myself were up before sunrise to get the early bus to Phnom Penh. It was a relatively painless journey that took about 5 hours; highlights included buying Fisherman's Friends for a feverish Khmer lady and holding a Korean baby that looked exactly like Psy.

We arrived in Phnom Penh just after 12 and quickly made our way to the bus station to buy tickets for Sihanoukville, which was supposed to be another 4 or 5 hours. There was a bus leaving in just 15 minutes - perfect! We got tickets, snacks and waited for our bus to arrive. It did... over an hour late. Although it didn't leave on time, we were comforted by the fact that we were now on our way and would arrive before dark so we could find a decent place to stay. As it turned out, not so much.

For whatever reason, our bus driver felt the need to drive incredibly slowly and stop for something or other about every 10 minutes. We quickly realized there was no way we'd get to Sihanoukville before dark. By a few hours into the journey I was getting pretty frustrated. My legs and butt were sore from sitting all day and I just wanted to get there. I could feel myself getting more and more annoyed when 'Vienna' by Billy Joel came on my iPod. There's a line in that song that goes

'Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You'd better cool it off before you burn it out'

Hearing that made me immediately re-evaluate how I was acting. I reminded myself that I'm fortunate enough to be traveling for an extended period of time and I'm really in no great rush. Sure it's a bit irritating when things take longer than they should but there's no sense getting worked up over something that you have no control over and is pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. This can be difficult to remember in the heat of the moment but if I ever need a reminder, I'll just put on some Billy Joel.

(P.S. I spent duration of the bus ride making friends with the kids around me. We listened to my music, they played games on my iPhone and then I gave them a mini English lesson. The bus ride quickly went from exasperating to highly enjoyable, which again just shows you have absolutely nothing to gain from getting aggravated!)

Enjoying the ride


Emily said...

Yes! I have to remind myself of this when things start going wrong and I get frantic and upset. It's so unnecessary. Can't wait to read all about the rest of your EVP visit!

Wondering and Wandering said...

Exactly! Just gotta keep calm and carry on, as they say. Post to come on EVP! Are you in Myanmar yet by the way?!