Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eurotrip (Part I)

[First part of the series of posts to follow.]
‘Planning every step of life will only make you become completely lost.’ Khan.

I’ve a huge craving to travel. I always want to be travelling, meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing the adrenaline of being lost and the joy of finding yourself. There was another big feather that added to my journeys in 2012 was my first international trip, as titled by my friends, my ‘Eurotrip’ ;)

My research paper got selected in the European Satellite Telecommunications (ESTEL) Conference in Rome, Italy. It was the second time of having an opportunity to get myself out there and meet my dreams. This time I had enough experience how to deal with my college and get the permission to get to the conference. Also, by God’s grace the invitation came almost 6 months before the conference date and I had enough time in my hands to plan everything. There was a lot to plan out, the travel dates, and the places to visit, the college exams, finances, visa process, travel plans and so many minute details. I have a habit of planning every detail of my travel when I know from my experiences that it will never happen the way I have planned. It has been good so far with no bad experiences and under God’s care and the blessings and prayers of family and friends I know it never will go wrong!

The big deal of the trip was returning back and appearing for my semester exams in just 2 days time! Thankfully, the college had made arrangements for my practical exams to be handled after I return. *blessing* The entire staff was highly supportive. Things were tough from day one, managing finances was tough and the biggest hurdle was the visa process! I got my visa approved 12 hours before my flight departure and I just can’t explain the nervousness as the embassy had rejected the visa twice in a period of 4 days. I was SCARED. The two days before the journey, I had to be in Mumbai for the procedure and thanks to Mehul, who was highly supportive in the entire process.

This needs to be mentioned. The kind of help Mehul provided was simply beyond words.  This night, the last day of registration of the conference, I had to transfer 350 (28,000 INR) to be registered for the event, after which I would have incurred 150 additional late fee. I was online for 6 hours trying to do the payment and nothing worked! 3-4 cards, 2 bank accounts, all failed to transfer to the PayPal account of the organization. I was hopeless and then I pinged Mehul on Facebook chat in desperation asking for help. Without another word, he went ahead and voila! The payment was successful! I still cannot thank him enough! Just not that, he helped in the visa process, gave me a shelter before I left and also was there at 0100hrs to see me off at the airport with Gaurav sir. This guy is the man behind the world’s largest Batman community, Official Dark Knight Rises Community on Facebook.

Getting back, I was at the VFS collection center to get my passport at 1400hrs on 27th September, and my flight was 15 hours later. Thinking of all possibilities, I waited there for a couple of hours and was handed the package around 1600hrs. Even my visa agent was surprised to see that I had been approved the visa within 24hours! I was filled with joy! I sat on the marble seat just outside the center, overwhelmed, calling all the people who were waiting to know the status. I was a huge moment! The last hurdle was cleared. I was going to board that plane to the city of love, Paris!  

Next post - Coming Soon!    

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