I must begin this post by stating just how UNprepared I am for this upcoming trip, and it’s freaking me out!
Current preparation level = zero! (OK so I do have my backpack, camera, and plane tix so maybe that’s prepared enough? :P)
Current list of things to do after my final exam = growing exponentially in my mind (I haven’t even written it down yet!)
The last time I went overseas I was prepared in terms of the material things I had to take with me. And that was it. This time around, in an attempt to avoid insanity for as long as possible, I am hoping to take on Einstein’s definition of insanity and act in accordance with the wisdom in it. That is, I WILL do things differently this time around. I’m sure everyone is familiar with his famous quote – “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
My last trip was AMAZING, but it could have been far more rewarding (both in terms of worldly experience and closeness to Allah) if I had put more thought into my reasons for going – my intention. So this time around, I want to make the most of my travels by focusing on including an intentional spiritual element. A number of excellent people whom I am lucky to call my friends have reminded me of the immense blessing there is in travel – from the dua (prayer) of the traveller being particularly accepted, to the fact that many of the awliya (friends of Allah, pious predecessors) travelled in search of knowing – yes, pretentiously in bold, to emphasise the act of knowing, not the passive collection of facts that it commonly refers to.
Now that I’m thinking more about how to prepare my intention, it has also got me thinking about the little things here and there that I need to do to “tie up loose ends” before I leave. Things like making up all my fasts that I missed during Ramadan before I leave, amping up the salat (ritual prayer) and dua for protection and guidance, finishing off a document that I promised for a friend, visiting friends and family, spending time with my niece and taking as many videos and photos of her as possible before I leave, asking my mum to water the little plant in my room…
So, in preparation for this trip, I have decided that my intention will include gaining a little more closeness to Allah by travelling and seeing His stamp in all the beauty, diversity, splendour, squalor, history, personality, culture and life that exists beyond my comfortable sphere. Growing out of a conversation with a friend, this intention will be supported by the measurable act of acquainting myself – meaningfully – with ALL the 99 Names of Allah throughout my travel, inshaAllah. I’m hoping to pick up a copy of this book to take with me 🙂I am no more materially prepared for my trip than I was at the beginning of this post…but I feel better about it. The items I need are easily acquired, and can be bought if lost or forgotten. Spending some time on focusing my intention is likely to influence the items I choose to take with me, and I can now see that the things that I’ve been stressing about can be taken care of. Except for how much I’m going to miss my gorgeous niece 😥