Like a big kid, I could not sleep with excitement the night before my travels to Bali. Waking up every hour, trying to focus on my breathing hoping I could go back into a deep sleep, but it was not happening, so I gave in and grabbed my phone at 4 am. Something I know too well you should not do, as this will definitely would cause more restless sleep, but I am going on my travels, and I can’t sleep, so hey ho…

A friend was online so had a quick chat, I told them I was struggling to sleep, they mentioned maybe try focusing on the most distant sound I could hear, “awesome I will try that”. It worked within minutes of really trying to listen for sounds in a silent room, with no noises whatsoever, I was fast asleep, to have 2 more amazing hours of sleep, waking up like a starfish in a duvet.

Giddy and excited for the journey ahead, a big cup of coffee and throw the final things in my bag pack. Previously I would have to empty the contents to check I had everything, but no longer, what do I actually need, a few clothes, lots of yoga gear, a pair of flip-flops and not much more. My mum always told me as long as you have your money and your passport you’re okay (she needs to take this advice on board herself, the person who starts to pack one month before a trip, yes mum I’m talking to you)

My lovely housemate Kelly’s piece of advice is I need to take a spare pair of underwear in case I get stranded somewhere, or my luggage does not arrive, she insisted, so I searched the knicker drawer for the smallest tiny thong I could find, is this OK Miss Kelly? We chuckled. She is also coming to Bali the following day such a beautiful bright light to be around.

Then a quick visit from Emma, who popped round with a little travel kit of essential oils from Doterra, everything I need in one tiny small case, clipped on to the side of my backpack. I will tell you more about the oils and their amazing benefits soon.

Beep beep, eek the taxi is here, I’m sure I have got everything, let’s get going, wow this is really happening now, I’m going to Bali, I have dreamt about this place forever….and dreams do come true… I’m so fricken excited, did I tell you?

After a sickie drive to the airport, I’m not too good as a car passenger, never have been and don’t really know why, but I made it, terminal 2 here I am, my 60kg backpack, my little red rucksack and my yoga mat.

Stepping into the terminal a sense of freedom, excitement, liberation.

Check-in in was not open, so in true backpack style, a found a place to plonk on the floor, got comfy and got lost in my book, raising your vibrations by Kyle Gray, wow it’s a compelling book.

Now and again, reaching for my beautiful little notepad, with its natural bind and paper, to write down things that inspire me. I wrote

“Sat with my backpack ready to check-in, hearing high pitched sounds around me, taking a moment to close my eyes and say thank you for the sign, raising my vibrations”.

Time to check-in, I’m getting closer to my dream, I love every second of my journey, I get to the counter, backpack on the scales, all’s good.

A few things I need to confirm with polite check-in assistant.

I ask “Would it be possible to have a window seat please, (actually thinking to GIVE ME a window seat or I will severely sulk for the entire journey) and can you please confirm all my vegan meals for the journey.”

Sure he said, the window seat is all yours “phew” I smiled a sigh of relief, Vegan meal, NO sorry mam, nothing showing on our system. WTF I thought this was going ever so well, I need food and those who know me, will understand how much I love food, and when I need to eat.

“I 100 per cent booked vegan meals, I confirmed with my booking agent several times” (but you know what I knew this was coming, my instincts told me, no matter how many times I checked I knew something was not right)

OK let it go I told myself, I will just have to buy some snacks, then the Universe took control. The check-in assistant at the next counter said, excuse me mam, but this gentleman here has a vegan meal on his flight which he has not requested, and I hear you have, we can do a straight swap. Thank you, Universe.

The elderly gentleman, joking asked me how much I was going to give him for his meal, ha funny you are!!, how much are you giving me for mine….

All checked in, now to the departures lounge, walking through the duty-free, avoiding getting sprayed by any perfumes etc., no interest in shopping, I have all I need. Scowling the food menus, and a lack of options for vegans.

So I settled for Frankie and bennies, penne arrabbiata and a G & T. I am going on my holidays.

Time to board, super excited, I had not even looked into how long the flights were. Leg number 1 Manchester to Doha. A smooth flight journey consisting of a chick flick, 2 meditations, 2 vegan meals (thank you Elderly man) 3 Ted Talks, some music and a brief sleep. Then we were there in Doha, a modern, shiny airport full of culture. I had only a 2-hour stopover which went very quickly as we started to board an hour before, so a short wander around, to get my legs moving, a few selfies in front of the giant teddy bear and it was time to board flight number 2. From Doha to Bali.

Only another 9 hours. I had not eaten while in Doha as I knew would be fed well on the next flight. Boarding, yes!!!, I’m almost their next time I touch the ground I will be in Bali the place that has been calling me forever.

Seat 19D, something felt not quite right stepping on the plane, the moment I stepped on I knew it I was not in a window seat.

OMG, panic, hot and cold sweats, shakes, I can’t cope, I need to see the chief flight attendant, actually, I need to look at the captain, this can’t happen to me.

Well not quite, come on I told myself, this is a lesson to be learnt, breath, let it go, look at everything you have overcome lately, you will be fine. I’m sure you can deal without a window seat, you got naked last week for a photoshoot – MY BLOG New empowered me, I got naked… (I actually do talk to myself quite a lot)

My seat was on the aisle in the middle section. There were 2 young, I think Swedish lads also there but an empty chair between, see there is always a positive, I can spread out.

By this point I was so hungry, where I get a bit agitated, the menus for the meals were handed out to each and every passenger on the flight. As the flight attendant passed I mentioned, I had booked a vegan dinner, in a rush, she said all is on the menu. Ok, let’s see what delightful vegan options I will be having during this flight. Perusing the list from top to bottom, I can’t eat this, I can’t eat this, I can’t eat this, and so on. There was just one option from the lunch menu that may be possibly an option, once I check the ingredients. Ok so remember I have had to deal with having now window seat, to then see no food for me, and I’m hungry, once it gets to very hungry, it equals grumpy.

I ummed and arred for a few moments do I just leave it or do I ask, I’m starting to be brave right, be open, not scared to speak out, just ring the call button and ask.

“Excuse me but there are no vegan options on this menu, and I ordered a vegan meal.”

She looked at her list and said sorry mam you have not ordered a meal. I know I have or I would not be asking, my inner diva was slowly being pulled out of me, trying hard to keep her inside, I would like to give her a name but nothing springs to mind, but no she won. I definitely, 100 per cent, without doubt, ordered a vegan meal, I said smiling, but breaking inside. She said she would go and speak to her supervisor and be back soon.

5 minutes later, she politely said, Ok I have looked at the menu, and you can have the beef, I don’t know what my face did I think my eyes may have popped up to my eyebrows, beef, that’s from a cow, an animal, and my favourite animal at that. I politely explained I don’t eat meat, OK so you can have the bread and butter pudding, I don’t drink milk, anything from an animal. She explained that she had only ever heard one other person say they were vegan before, so was not aware entirely what it meant. I was quite shocked to hear, but an afterthought to myself, well through this flight a few more people are now aware what Vegan is so that’s good I suppose, see there’s always a positive I say, I have no food, but several new people understand veganism.

Finally, she found a tofu dish, with noodles, I asked what they were made from? But she could not tell me, and the information was nowhere to be found, which was not surprising. I had it, but I didn’t enjoy at all, as in my head I was hoping they were vegan noodles, I have to hope they were.

Food in my stomach, time for a little or hopefully a long sleep. Look to my right well there goes my plan of spreading out the dark-haired Swedish guy had beat me into the space. Let’s try and sleep without leaning on anything, I had an image of me falling into the aisle and being hit by the food trolley, while dribbling, which I tend to do on flights. I don’t dribble at home, do you think it’s an uprighted thing, is there an explanation for this?

Yes, I’m sleeping, wait I’m awake, thinking I don’t remember putting a bag next to me, hmm it’s just the guy next to me with his head almost resting on my lap. Breathe, it will be fine, have a little wiggle, and he will realise how close he is, the wiggle didn’t work. Just go back to sleep which I finally did.

Excellent hot drinks coming along, I would love a cup of tea, I, unfortunately, am at the end of the hot drink queue the last seats to get their thirst quenched. I can see the trolley getting nearer, fighting to keep my eyes open, literally 2 rows before, me the seat belt sign comes on, and the cart zooms straight past me, I politely ask the rushing stewardess, can I have a cup of tea please, sorry madam, we cannot serve hot drinks whilst the seat belt sign is on. The cup of tea never happened during the whole flight, they came past with the trolley twice, but it never reached me.

So my only option is to go back to sleep, an hour or so later, half asleep, eyes still closed. I’m thinking to myself, I don’t remember there being a footrest on this flight either, wait a minute it just moved, opening my sleepy eyes, which by this point were utterly blurred as my contact lenses had dried up and glued themselves to my eyes (my last pair of contacts, but that’s another story for another day). What the fricken heck is that the blond-haired Swedish guy had laid his entire body along with all four of the middle seats on the floor, with his head underneath mine. So here I am hungry, no tea, contact lenses stuck to my eyes, a brown-haired Swedish guy almost asleep on my lap and a blond-haired Swedish guy asleep under my feet, what is happening…..

15 minutes to landing, yes yes I’m here, butterflies in my stomach, my heart racing, what a journey, all 18 hours but I’m finally here.

Stepping off the plane in the warm Balinese air, familiar scent of security, walking to the baggage terminal, huge billboards stand out at me the words I AM, it was a campaign or abbreviation for something but I saw it as a sign, I am here, I am strong, I am beautiful, I am living my dreams, I am happy. Thank you, Bali for your fantastic welcome.

Waiting for my backpack, was a testing time, one case was being released approx. Every 5 to 10 minutes, how can this be so slow, after an hour which felt like several days my backpack finally arrived, just as I had sat down to open my book and let go of when it would come.

Then through visa, this was one of the easiest parts of the journey, if you are staying less than 30 days it’s free, and no payment needed. Then the final hurdle customs, I went through the green section, nothing to declare, after queuing for approx. 10 minutes I noticed everyone was holding a slip, hmmm I never saw these do I need one, imp not taking the risk and making this any longer. Running back through the hundreds of people in the queue, furiously rummaging my rucksack for a pen, I filled in the form, back to the line, and straight through they didn’t even ask to see the slip. Oh no but it does not end there, as there was one final hurdle I was ushered to the right side, 1 in maybe every 20 people or so, to put my bags through the baggage scanner, backpack, yoga mat and rucksack on, finally there we walk to the other side sigh of relief I made it. Nope, I was sent back one more time to put my bum bag through, this must be it.

Finally, I’m through straight away I see a sign with my name on it, a lovely smiley chap called Gede, pronounced good day, and a good day it was. Following him through the hustle and bustle, sweating, making lots of peculiar sounds, arriving at the taxi, bags in the boot, sit down, and the biggest sigh of relief, I looked up to see the most magnificent moon ever, I’m here, I’m home.

A testing journey, with many challenges along the way, lessons to learn. It’s not about being hungry, be held back, delayed, changing plans, no window, it’s about how we deal with it.

I am so grateful for every moment as these moments are what make me who I am right now, I’m in Bali, and I feel like the luckiest girl alone, I accept all of life’s challenges big and small, and I will not fail, I grow stronger every day, and am grateful for everything I receive.

If I don’t get a window seat on the way back, that’s fine, if I don’t get a vegan meal that’s fine too, but if I do it will just make things that little bit easier.

When life throws you a challenge, you will get through it, I promise you, and your final destination will always be a great one, but just enjoy the journey.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

On route to my home for the next 3 weeks, Gede told me stories of Bali, this is paradise………

To be continued……….

Lots of love

Just Mimi xxx

P.S I never needed the knickers Kelly, but I will definitely use your advice on future travels, as I’m sure I will.

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