Touch down in Istanbul. It’s the first layover of two on our way to India. Otto, a recent friend and coworker I met through Hostel One, has traveled India twice—once with his father on a motorcycle, and once on his own with his own bike. I was fortunate to have had the chance of meeting him a day before he left Barcelona. After talking about India for three we decided to make a plan to meet there after I finished the Yoga teacher Training I’ll be partaking in at Rishikesh YogPeeth. India is a place I’ve been interested in traveling around but as a solo female traveler the country seems a bit daunting to take on alone. So, here we are, on the second flight out of three, headed to Dubai for a 16-hour layover before completing the mission to New Delhi.
Since we’re flying with the RyanAir, Vueling-like airline that is Pegasus, we didn’t get any drink or food on the three-hour flight. First order of business: grab some grub and water. We headed upstairs to see Sbarro, Burger King, Popeye, and McDonalds combo meals were almost as expensive as 30 Turkish monies. What’s the exchange rate, we thought. While Otto looked for some information about Wi-Fi to find the dollar/euro exchange rate, I asked the man that had just sat across from me at the table where he was from. He told me to guess and so I went. We quickly got on and I asked him if he knew the exchange rate. He did the best he could by converting Turkish money to Danish money then to the Euro. We laughed while trying to do the math, thanked him, and went on our way.
Upon conclusion that the 35 Turkish monies equated to only about 10-15 euro, we returned back to the fast food area for some incredibly upsetting doner kebabs. We laughed and brushed it off even though we spent some serious time contemplating if we should eat or not. We learned to always go with your gut and never, never trust the pictures. We gathered our things and headed downstairs.
“Last call for boarding flight number 1072 to Dubai, gate 304B.” Yep, that was our flight… about to leave. We sprinted down the escalators to the bottom floor where our gate was about a hundred meters away. We made it just in time to be some of the last people through those doors. Right as we were making our way out, there’s Furqan, the now Denmark resident from Pakistan who helped us with the Turkish exchange rate. We all shared a good laugh and hopped on the bus taking us to the aircraft.
Otto and I had middle and aisle seats but scooted to the window hoping that maybe the person in that seat fancied the aisle freedom. The plane was almost completely boarded and our row still wasn’t filled. How funny would it be if Furqan had this window seat I am sitting in, I thought to myself.
You know, there’s something about your gut feeling that you should always notice and give some credit to.
“Oh yeah, there he is,” I chuckled.
“Hey look who’s sitting in my seat, ha ha ha.” We all shared yet, another laugh and a big sigh at this “coincidence,” you may call it.
After talking for approximately five minutes, the three of us knew this was no coincidence. In the midst of an important phase of the business he started a year ago called Book2Wheel, Furqan is seeking investors, writers, videographers and travelers, to help grow and support his passion of changing the lives of the less fortunate. Book4wheel is basically Airbnb for bikes and motorcycles with the mission to help provide some sort of income for those not qualified for a job that pays for the needs of a family or let alone requirements of ones personal life. Book2Wheel helps bike owners rent their scooters or motorcycles to travelers or people in need of transportation.
Furqan couldn’t have come into my life, and Otto’s life, at a better time. I enjoy writing and Otto enjoys filmmaking. We’re both traveling the world solo while looking for ways to make some sort of income ourselves. Furqan immediately pushed the idea on us to create any kind of content for the Book2Wheel blog that may involve saving money while traveling, listing places to go and things to do in a short time period, ways to travel sustainably, and all the other things we’re both very much about. Later in the conversation as the flight was taking off, the topic of energy came up. Ah, the good ole law of attraction. You see, I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that things come to you based on the energy you emit. There was so much fun involved in the two hours Otto and I spent in the Istanbul airport running around trying to understand the currency, sharing a hard boiled egg to see if it could settle our stomachs until Dubai, and then nearly missing our flight. We embraced and made the most out of all these occurrences and I know that meeting Furqan in the restaurant, then at the flight gate, and now seated directly next to me (sleeping as we speak), only meant one thing—we were meant to meet, learn about his business, talk about the possibility of him sponsoring our travels as we document our trip for Book2Wheel, and supporting one another’s personal endeavors. The good vibrations exchanged between us combined together formed a great energy of positivity and community. No coincidences here.
We were mean to meet, share stories, and discuss ways to collaborate for the greater good while expanding and extending our travel explorations. There is something about letting go and trusting the path you’re on that brings light and the right things into orbit. I think I speak for all three of us new friends when I say that when you smile at life, life smiles back at you. To notice the good in every situation is a choice, a choice worth making, just as happiness is a choice. So I encourage you. Choose optimism. Choose empathy. Choose the life that so badly wants to show you what you’re missing.