I am so grateful to be sitting here writing this at Nîmes-Garon Airport in France. And this is why...
I planned this trip with my friend Ali. Unfortunately Ali got ill a couple days ago and couldn't make it. Trying to be more adventurous I decided to come alone. Nîmes is a beautiful and excessively cultural city. Like most of the western world it was invaded by the Romans. They seemed to love Nîmes because they invested a lot of time and resources into building a gladiator arena (awesome) and some other prominent buildings. Basically, if you get chance, check it out. Being the south of France it's hot even in October.
I've traveled around France before and the people here have a good grasp of the English language. Much better than the English do of the French language. Doesn't take much though. Nîmes however seems to have skipped English class. In a lot of 'discussions' I knew more French then they did English. This stroked my ego. But it also filled me with fear. I was alone, in a foreign country and no one fucking understood me. We got by, there was mutual comedic value in neither parties understanding each other. Friendly people the Nimiens (I made that name up).
Me in the Arena of Nîmes (Badass)
The final night is where it all came unstuck. Realising I needed to book a taxi, and my phone not working abroad, I got filled with panic. I got back to the hotel only to find the reception was closed. Freaking out, I pulled out my tourist map (which is never detailed). The airport shuttle was labeled on there. I head out the hotel in search of this bus stop, after about 40mins I can't find it. Back at the hotel I get Google maps out. It appears I went the wrong fucking way. New potential bus stop in mind, I head out. 20 minutes of walking I find the stop. However it looks like a normal bus stop and there is no description of the 'navette' or shuttle in English. My thought is 'I'm not coming here tomorrow and risk it not fucking turning up'. I was getting stressed and panicky now. On route back to the hotel I have a, what I thought was a genius idea. At the hotel I buy skype credit so I can use my phone as a phone. As it will work through the internet and not a telecommunications network.
It's important to note that at this point I kept telling myself "Stuart don't worry you will find a way". I think in times where you can't seem to find a solution, it's important to tell yourself stuff like this. Because it stops your mind from giving in, it keeps it in the game long enough to find a solution.
This is where my genius plan falls short. This is how my conversations with the several taxi firms a rang (I rang more but they didn't pick up - useful).
Stuart "Bonjour. Parlez vous anglais?" (Hello, do you speak english?)
Taxi man (in a French accent) "No"
I even google translated my own speech about needing a taxi and the specific time. Great, they understand me. They respond, and I don't have a fucking clue what they just said. I apologise and hang up.
Refusing to give up hope, I sit their and think. Lightbulb. I'll run it. I had googled it earlier and seen it was 8.8km. I'm a somewhat fit guy. In fact the week before in Nottingham I had run a 12k race. The only difference is, it wasn't hot, I had running trainers on and I didn't have a 2kg back pack on.
Still determined to make that flight. I google map the route and took screen shots of it, so I could use the pictures of the route as my map on the run.
Still not liking this idea of running. I freak out a little. I see a French family outside. I put my faith in God/universe and ask "Bounjour, parlez vous anglais". French girl "yes a little".
After the French family playfully took the piss out of me (Fair play, I would have done the same) she called a taxi company. After a little back and forth, and calling a second company she booked it for me. To that French girl and family, if you ever read this (and can read English) I'm so grateful for you helping me. Merci beaucoup.
The rest of the night resolved me worrying and getting a very interrupted sleep.
My mind was concerned that the taxi would not arrive and that I would have to run the distance to make my flight. My head then filled with ideas of being arrested for running on motorways, or getting lost in the country where they spoke even less English.
I put my faith in the universe, that she would pull through for me. I also mentally prepped myself for the grueling run.
When I was in the taxi earlier, I thanked the universe. I was hit with one realisation. Was I wrong to have a back up plan I.e. The run. I'm forever being told, put your faith in the universe. Don't have a plan b because you are doubting the universe.
I'm still unsure. But the universe will help, however as much as you need faith in the universe, the universe has faith in you. Faith that you will think about all outcomes, faith that you will find a way. I had faith in the universe. If the taxi didn't come, I knew the universe had faith in me to run the distance. We aren't separate to the universe, we are it and it is us.
Plan for the worst, but put your faith in the best.
Hope that helps.