I should be writing about my trip to Kangaroo Island, but I thought it’d be more interesting to describe my situation at this very moment.
It’s 16:35 on Friday afternoon. In about two and a quarter hours I arrive in Melbourne. I have nowhere to stay as yet. I was meant to be going down there to help set up the new Sivananda yoga centre, but thanks to some legal issues to do with licensing, it’s still in a state of flux at the moment. I had a text from the Swami in charge a few hours ago saying they won’t know if they’re going to take the premises or not until the end of today. Lord knows if that means I’d be able to stay there, even if they do. It’s probably just an empty shell at the moment.
I also had a call from my friend down there. Turns out he and his wife are going to be away at a seminar for the weekend, starting today. He did offer that I could still stay at theirs, but since he lives in a small town an hour from Melbourne (and that’s just the train ride, not the 20 minute car journey afterwards) it’s not my first choice. I’d be better off in a hostel for a few days.
But, an extensive web search and 8 speculative phone calls have proven that, surprisingly, the entire of Melbourne is booked for the next two days. I can only assume it’s some sort of backpackers convention or something. And, thanks to the fact that (despite being charged completely last night) my new smart phone chews up power, and I’ve had to turn it off to preserve what little is left, I can’t make any more searches/calls to find somewhere to stay.
My current plan, assuming nothing miraculous happens when I turn my phone on again, is to check the streets around the railways station for hostels and see if any of them have a room spare. I refuse to believe that there is nothing to be had in the whole of Melbourne. But, my success depends entirely on coming across a hostel that’s conspicuous and within walking distance of the main railway station. As plans go, it’s pretty thin.
I don’t know Melbourne… at all, really. It’d be nice to have some idea of where I’m going. Even just the day to wander around a bit. But as it is I’ll have a few hours before it starts getting sketchy, and that’s not long to come up with a solution.
Of course it could all be fine. I could wander out and find the perfect place to stay right on my doorstep (rarely the case, if experience is anything to go by). And if worst comes to worst I can always just wander into any hotel, slap down the credit card, and hang the expense; but that’s a distant Plan B. Chances are I’m going to have to do some creative thinking to sort this one out. The interesting thing is, time was, this might have really messed with my head.
Some people don’t handle uncertainty well, I was one of them, but with everything I’ve done – leaving my job, leaving London, the karma yoga, the traveling – has helped my understand that, no matter what your ‘plans’, something will happen. No matter what you do, events unfold, and often nowhere near as unfortunately as you might have feared.
But you have to prepare yourself for them. You have to play the ‘what if’ game. What if this happens? What if that happens? Which can be damaging, but is fine if you take it all the way. Well, if ‘this’ happens, then I’ll do ‘that’. Start with the problem, but always end with the solution. Don’t wallow in the fear, go past it to the joyful resolution. It’s much more satisfying, and far more productive.
And the solution to my current predicament? Well, it goes like this. Either,
1. I get a call telling me I can stay at the new yoga centre (provided my phone works for long enough when I turn it on*).
2. I find a hostel/cheap hotel near the station to stay at.
3. I find a more expensive hotel to stay in.
4. I call Tom and can stay at his while he’s away (provided he hasn’t left by then).
5. I spend the night in the train station/park/beach/etc.
And that’s it. Those are my options. Whatever I do, one of them will happen. It’s pretty much unavoidable. Once you’ve got your head around that what is there to worry about? Only one of them is fairly undesirable, and even that is tolerable for one night. Then tomorrow provides a whole new set of opportunities to pursue. But that’s for then. Like the alcoholics say; One day at a time.
Still, two things I’ve learned from this experience. One, always book in advance; better safe than sorry. And two, always carry your phone charger; it’s not that heavy, and better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it. Words of wisdom my friends, words of wisdom. …lol..
* It’s just occurred to me that, if I can find some free wifi, I can use my laptop to make phone calls with Skype. Y’see, nothing is as bad as it seems if you just keep thinking. 🙂 **
** Even better! I just realised I can plug my phone into my laptop to charge it. I’m telling you, it’s true what they say; the only constant really is change! ..lol.. 😉
17:25 UPDATE: Now I’m in communication again I’ve now got my gorgeous girlfriend in Germany offering to look up cheap hotel options for me online, and Tom wants to know if I’ve got an International Driver’s License. Things are afoot!
18:55 UPDATE: I arrive in Melbourne. Unfortunately the web search has come up with little by the way of choice (just two in fact, one of which is described in one review as ‘a crack house’). Tom texts me to say his mum has “…heard of my plight and offered me a mattress on the floor at her place.” Whilst very generous, I want to see what I can sort out first.
19:05 UPDATE: Get a list of hostels from the tourist information and start calling the ones I like the sound of.
19:40 UPDATE: After no joy whatsoever decide to stop being picky and just start working my way down the list.
20:05 UPDATE: Finally, after 25 (that’s right, 25!) phone calls, find a spare room/bed in a hostel. Agree to take it on the spot.
20:30 UPDATE: Discover my lucky break is in fact this…
Still take it, because what choice do I have? But decide to keep all my things near to me for the night. Y’know, just in case.
NEXT DAY: Go over the road for a “Well done you!” veggie breakfast. Whilst there, call the YHA and book a room for Sunday night.
FINAL UPDATE: I am now out of the Armpit Hotel (as I like to call it). Glad to be gone really. Was really a party hostel for 20-somethings looking to drink too much. Slept badly both nights I was there. In the YHA now. By contrast, when I walked into my room here two guys were practicing giving massages for the course they’re on. I got a free massage! 🙂 …which was nice. What a difference a change of location makes. And you know what, the room costs the same too.