Negligence and carelessness can cause immense difficulties in life. This is what I learned from a recent event in my life. My excessive anxiety to join my family and enjoy my holidays in my native land made me very forgetful about the travel norms. In fact, I deserved more punishment, but, luckily I overcame the hurdles with patience and determination, and the result was that I enjoyed my holidays in a much better way than I desired. The hard experience of traveling from The United States to Beijing, my hometown, without valid document is the essence of this write-up. I was on my vacation to Beijing, China.
It was not my first vacation. I used to visit Beijing at least once in a year. I left China four years ago to take up my higher studies in America. As my uncle and family live in New York, I have not felt any kind of loneliness or a sense of cultural distance. However, home is home. As the days approach to my travel date, I become quite restless and enact in my mind the pleasant get-together that awaits me far away in Beijing. Initially I had some travel fright, and I would check and recheck my bags and all the important papers to make sure that I am not caught for the lack of authentic travel documents at the airport.
I made an inside pocket in my blouse and I always safely place the purse, passport, and the ticket inside it. This time I repeated all these rituals very precisely. When I reached Beijing Airport I was reminded by the airport authorities that my visa expired two days before I started my journey. In fact, my academic course was for four years. Therefore, the visa was stamped taking the course period into consideration. I have to stay back in USA for one more year as I have decided to complete a computer course along with my degree.
I knew that a “valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit China and must be obtained from Chinese Embassies and Consulates before traveling to China”. Neither did I think of getting the visa extended, nor did my parents remind me about it The option given to me at the airport was to fly back to USA or go to Hong Kong to get my travel visa stamped again. It takes three days precisely to go through the office procedures. My purse was almost empty, as I needed no extra cash with me when I was going to join my parents.
The only option for me was to stay at the airport. A room at the airport costs around $ 300. Words are inadequate to explain the torture of spending more than two days by sitting and walking in the passenger room of an airport. I was cursing myself for being negligent. One must check and recheck all the papers before one begins his journey. Let my experience be a warning to all travelers in future. I felt like eating well, but I was short of cash. I realized the immense value of food and bed at the airport.
An American sitting beside me was having beer after beer, and then he went for a mighty eating. Sleep would conquer me, but some sound or some announcement would wake me up. I wanted a shower, but the problem of drying held me back. The worst is the need of changing the inner garments. I lacked the courage to keep my bag anywhere, fearing its loss and further complications. In spite of the hardships I encountered due to my own negligence and carelessness, I do not regret for what happened, because it taught me to be cautious in future.
I shall, I take an oath, be double cautious hereafter, and I shall recheck before I embark on any journey. I will keep a note of the things to be done before a journey, and the papers to be checked and carried before the trip. One learns from experience is absolutely true. I have decided to extend the application of this precious lesson to all the other areas in my life. Nothing should be taken for granted.
Reference “China: Country Specific Information. http://travel. state. gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1089. html
Courtney from Study Moose
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