Have you ever made plans in relation to accomplishing something very important but find that once you set out to do it, things don’t go according to plan. You feel as if life has played an overwhelmingly cruel joke on you. However, as time goes by you realize that your plan couldn’t possibly compare to the predestined one that has been created by something/someone more powerful and intelligent than you.
I experienced this many years ago, on my second trip to America. I found myself yearning to go to California because I wanted to get one of my books published there. I figured I had a much better chance of accomplishing this in the good old U.S. of A because at times it seems as though Americans are more liberated than Australians – especially in my home state, Victoria, where conservatism is the order of the day.
Don’t get me wrong – I had tried some of the major book publishing companies in Melbourne and Sydney before I made the physical, emotional and financial effort to go overseas in order to publish a book that means a great deal to me. At the time, I really didn’t know how difficult it is to get published anywhere in the world.
So I set off to Los Angeles on the twelfth day of June 1996 – at the age of twenty-six – and arrived there on the same day due to the time difference. I had no place to stay, found a hotel at the airport and took a shuttle bus over to my abode for the first few days of my stay in California. I had embarked on a trip that was based purely on faith. I knew everything was going to be alright.
Hotels became a bit too expensive for me so I decided to reside in hostels after the first nine days. I didn’t have too much money and I had planned on staying for at least three months in order to find a publisher for my 106-paged labor of love.
My journey changed completely when I began staying in hostels, which for those of you who don’t know, are shared places of accommodation for tourists. I began to meet, and live with, all kinds of people from all over the world: men and women, young and old, tall and short, Christians and Atheists.
Now, for someone like me – a very private person – this was a complete culture shock at first, but I grew to love it – at one place, I was the only woman in the room. If I had been told a few weeks earlier that I would be living like this, I would’ve laughed…and laughed…and laughed… I realized that this was a kind of communal living where you need to share and trust people whom you barely know – this was a very alien concept to me.
My three months in California turned out to be an endless journey from one hostel to another in places like Hollywood, Venice Beach, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and a small spiritual town called, Mt. Shasta.
Whatever happened to my desire to get my book published – my so-called ‘mission’ – you may ask? I really don’t know. I found myself not caring because I realized that I had so much more learning and living to do before I could even think about being published.
Of course, I still want to be published one day but now I understand the importance of timing. Quite often we know what we want to set out to achieve but we want it before we are ready to handle the responsibility that goes with it.
The people I met on my journey in California taught me so much about how very little I know about people and life – including myself. Who am I? What do I stand for? What is my truth? These may seem like heavy questions but I believe we need to have some answers in relation to them before we are truly at peace with ourselves.
As it was summer in the U.S.A. everyone was on vacation so even trying to contact publishers or agents would’ve been futile. I had such strong hopes about succeeding and the truth is that I did, in fact, succeed – it simply wasn’t in any way that I imagined. You see, I followed my dream and it brought me right back to myself.
And the journey isn’t over yet – even after more than two decades since that trip, the journey has really only just begun…
© New Age Power (Helen Papadopoulos)
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