Going up the Nam Ou river in far north Laos this morning, I was pondering about the fact that ‘everything happens for a reason’. Those who know me well will have heard me say these words so many times before. This trip has only confirmed my belief…
Two days ago, as I was walking through the jungle and up the mountain to Ban Na village near Muang Ngoi, surrounded by hundreds of the most colourful and beautiful butterflies I’ve ever seen (also prone to ADHD it seemed like!), I started getting a headache which developed into fever and later in the day, shivers and diarrhea (not to give too much detail, but just to say I wasn’t feeling at my best!). I had planned to leave by boat the next day (yesterday), but decided to listen to my body and rest (hanging in a hammock by a river surrounded by beautiful mountains… not a bad place to be sick really!).
If I hadn’t done so, not only the boat trip would have been painful, but I would have missed out on a little community’s celebration of Ork Phansaa (end of Buddhist lent), which I had experienced at steroids level in the big sister city, Luang Prabang. The ceremony was humble but genuine, simple but energetic. Two proceedings (prayers) with the seven local monks, one large handmade bamboo boat with hundreds of candles lit after sunset and dozens of kids setting firecrackers off, laughing and shouting. I was happy to be there, happy that my illness (which was by then mostly gone) had retained me in this little village of Muang Ngoi for another 24 hours. ‘Everything happens for a reason…’
And I think again of Vietnam (bare with me, here comes a long story short)… A regretful detour to Dalat (which was rainy, had bad food and bad accommodation!) led to the best bus ride I’ve ever had in South East Asia (Vietnamese AAA class treatment!); which led me to being lost without Vietnamese Dong in Ho Chi Minh City at night; which led a local man to generously pay my ride to the hotel district; where it started pouring like the skies had fallen on our heads (I mean, flooded street in two minutes!); which led a hotel host to chuck me out the side door as I didn’t want to sleep in her hotel and she didn’t want me to use her lobby as rain protection; which led me to meeting a couple who themselves led me to the best little, cheap guesthouse at the end of a little alleyway. Perfect! It’s a long story, but as you can see, everything – good or bad – led to something better… ‘Everything happened for a reason’!
It’s a series of events, sometimes regretful, which leads to the light at the end of a tunnel or, at times, to a dry, warm and comfortable bed for the night!
I’ve been thinking about writing on this topic since the Dalat series of events in Vietnam, but for some reason I hadn’t. Just before I decided to write about it this afternoon, I checked my email to find one from a reader (who’s also a friend of mine) saying that she’s having a difficult time these days and my blog is really helping her to get through this rough patch and to remind her that ‘everything happens for a reason’… Coincidence? 😉