Six weeks ago I left Nova Scotia for Bhutan. I expected 16 hours of flying to reach New Delhi. Then a couple days of waiting, exploring the city, followed by a quick flight through the Himalayas to Paro (the only town in Bhutan flat enough to have an airstrip). A couple days to travel to Thimphu and get settled in. After all this transit, starting work at the Youth Development Fund, building professional relationships, working to complete our projects and experiencing the unique Bhutanese culture. However, things do not always work out the way you expect.
Just before leaving for India, it became apparent the Bhutanese visa would take a little longer than expected. The couple days in Delhi would likely be a week or more. It was decided that, because of an outbreak of Dengue fever in Delhi we would spend this time in Bir, a Tibetan refugee colony. Bir is a thirteen hour drive north of Delhi, there we stayed at Deer Park a Buddhist learning center and assisted an excellent fellow named Trilock with the zero waste initiative. This mostly involved cleaning and cutting plastic to make meditation cushions, as well as facilitating a workshop on plastic for some local college students.
After a couple weeks in Bir, we moved on to Mcleodganj. Mcleodganj is a larger Tibetan colony and is the seat of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. We spent our time here working in coffee shops on research for our projects in Bhutan, and other deliverables for GPI. At Mcleod we realized that our stay in India was not to be a short one and my expectations did not match reality. Initially this was very discouraging and somewhat depressing. I had no idea if or when we would make it to Bhutan and this experience was certainly not what I expected.
It took a day off feeling sorry for myself for not reaching Bhutan for that to get really old. I realized that if I was going to be unhappy with my reality not meeting my initial expectations then I would be miserable for as long as it took for that reality to change. Instead of worrying about how long it would take to get to Bhutan and how I thought I would be there sooner, I relaxed, accepted there was nothing I could do about it and allowed myself to enjoy the incredible opportunity to see a part of the world I never expected to see. This shift in attitude greatly improved my happiness and allowed me to appreciate the gorgeous scenery and amazing culture I was immersed in. the moral of the story is that when life reality is not meeting your expectations it is generally much easier and more beneficial to change those expectations than to wait for reality to change.
Then I got diarrhea for like a week…
Lucian Mustain is working with GPI Atlantic, on route to Bhutan.