by Niall Doherty

This has become my mantra, when things don’t go according to plan.

Like when I find myself in Tehran on a Tuesday morning with an expiring visa1 and not enough cash for a ticket out of town2.

What resulted was ten hours of me running around the Iranian capital, first trying this bank in one part of town, then trying that exchange store in another part of town, and finally, after Plans A and B had failed, making my way over to a third part of town to meet with a Couchsurfer who’d offered help.

I found myself lost several times during the day, got off at incorrect metro stops, wandered for significant chunks of time in wrong directions. By the time I got to sleep late that night, I hadn’t improved my circumstances much at all.

As I write this post from a random apartment in Isfahan on Thursday afternoon, a lot of things are still up in the air. I’m due to sail from Southern Iran to Dubai on Monday. I have about $40 left in my pocket. Should be an interesting few days.

But just like that time I got stuck on the side of the road outside a small french village for six hours… just like that time the train to Zurich split in two and I was on the wrong half… just like that time I was stranded in Bucharest for three weeks because of heavy snow… I’ll take a deep breath, crack a smile, and remind myself that it’s all part of the adventure.

See, you can’t have an adventure when everything goes to plan. It’s only when things fall apart that you really have to dig deep and find out what you and this world are made of. As a bonus, it’s those very situations in which you’re most likely to meet some amazing people and experience remarkable acts of kindness.

So, whatever shitty situation you might find yourself in, do your best to accept and roll with it3. Think of it as part of your grand adventure, another brick in the wall of that strong character you’re building, and fodder for a good story or two down the line.

P.S. Massive thanks to Behzad, Eoin, Hoda, Maral, Mr. Mousavi, Gholam and Samira for helping out a strange fool this week. Lifesavers.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Like an idiot, I thought my Iranian visa was good for three months, when in fact it was only good for seven days.
  2. Also like an idiot, I didn’t realize that my cards wouldn’t work in ATM’s here in Iran, and only brought $100 in cash with me.
  3. I should be clear that I’m not advocating you be an idiot like me and get yourself in a pickle that could have easily been avoided with a bit of extra planning. My point is that when you do find yourself in such a situation, you don’t have to play the victim.
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