My husband, who was working in Melbourne, suggested I visit my parents in Ireland. Although I had travelled overseas on several occasions I was always accompanied and was unsure whether I was capable of travelling alone. Encouraged by my Better Half I decided to take the plunge.
Initially, I contacted my parents who were delighted. The next day, Tuesday, I visited Flight Centre on my way home from work. An hour later I left with an airline ticket in my hand and a flight booked for the following Friday, Good Friday. The great advantage of this was that I had little time to reconsider.
Friday morning came and I nervously said goodbye at Tullamarine. My flight was with JAL, Japan Airlines, and involved an overnight stay in Tokyo before flying on to London and then to Dublin.
The first leg of the flight went very smoothly, but when we arrived at Narita Airport, near Tokyo, there was chaos. Japan was preparing to host the Socccer World Cup later on that year so they were practising security measures, adding to the time taken for us to be processed through Immigration.
Once through we were taken by bus to our hotel. The room I was allotted was lovely, with my own bathroom and very comfortable bed. What more could one desire?
Next morning, after a very leisurely breakfast, we were herded onto buses for the trip to the airport. About halfway there the bus was stopped and three uniformed men boarded to check our passports - this was part of their training for the Big Event. As the bus was very crowded they asked for two or three of us to step outside. I bravely volunteered and then spent four or more anxious minutes outside before we were invited back on board, to be greeted by applause from our fellow travellers.
The Tokyo to London leg of the trip was peaceful. Heathrow Airport was frantic with people going in all directions. I was relieved to eventually make my way to the nethermost regions and my Dublin flight.
I arrived in Dublin after dark where I was met by my brother, Jim, who drove me to my parents house in Co. Kilkenny. I spent a lovely three weeks with my parents and catching up with other family.
I returned to Australia feeling relieved but proud that I had taken the plunge and travelled overseas on my own in my late fifties. As a result I was able to make several trips to spend time with my parents before their deaths, something I had never envisioned myself doing.
A good lesson learned.
Winging It or Taking the Plunge usually leads to the realisation of a hidden quality or capability.