Anushka's blog: Resilience, adaptability and drive – the silver lining of a life less comfortable
We have just returned from a would-be family holiday of a lifetime to Egypt that ended up feeling like more of a trains, planes and automobiles ordeal! It began with severely delayed flights, altered routes and travel itineraries, and landing in Egypt at 1am with no idea who our transfer company was or what hotel we were supposed to be at. It was then added to with delayed luggage, lost favourite teddies, severe illness and having to keep our wits about us as we were regularly asked for tips or exorbitant exchange rates for tours we booked. It was the all-inclusive holiday that certainly had it all!
The hardest challenge was being on a constant treadmill of early morning starts and long coach journeys to see all our pre-paid for tourist sights whilst we all rapidly fell quite ill.
The silver lining was that what we actually saw of the sights was truly awe-inspiring. From the pyramids, Tutankhamen’s coffin and Abu Simbel to a hot air balloon ride over Luxor where you could see the extent to which we are still today uncovering more Egyptian temples and tombs, it was unforgettable.
It was also impossible to see the sights without being affected by the sight of the country itself, the huge military presence, the chaos on the roads and poverty in Cairo, a city with 21 million inhabitants. My kids have unwittingly left with gratitude for what we have in the UK, perhaps an inspiration later in life to do a job that might help, i.e. in International Relations, and a crash course in negotiation skills, being alert as to when someone might be trying to defraud them, an understanding of how airlines operate and overbook flights and simply how not to panic when things go awry and you have to adapt your plans and improvise on the basis of imperfect information.
From both personal experience and the stories of countless others, it has become clear that a certain amount of hardship is often a pre-cursor to having drive, resilience, adaptability and ultimately success. The contrast between this holiday and my children’s day to day life was stark. On this one holiday, my 12-year-old daughter lost her favourite teddy, had to deal with the dashed expectations of a Christmas Day spent largely in an airport, changed plans and having to quickly adapt, and all whilst battling tiredness and illness. Just days before, at a sleepover party, one child her age was in tears because she had forgotten her favourite teddy, another was struggling with sub-optimal sleeping arrangements whilst camping in the living room (I blame Gina Ford), another with the food not exactly as they wished or having forgotten to bring stage 3 of their multi-step facial cleansing routine! Although it might not have felt it at the time, having to cope with this holiday has probably benefitted my kids more in the long run than they realise.
Anushka works full time for a professional services firm, is married with two kids aged 10 and 12.