A Backflip on the Journey

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”


It was a perfect day for a cycle;temperature in the low twenties, no wind and a weekday when most people were at their workplaces.

Perfect. Yet I wasn’t fully appreciative of the day and the opportunities for joy it presented. Instead, I was a bit impatient with myself and after having coffee at a local cafe in Brighton, I started back on the part of the journey which involved cycling through the quiet streets of Glenelg in Adelaide before rejoining the scenic coastal esplanade which went on forever.

Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear out troubles until a better day.”

Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

I started to dismount the bike, a borrowed one which was a little bit high for me, when my foot caught under the seat. As I pulled at the resistant limb, I lost my balance and fell backwards onto the road. Within a short moment the pain commenced-excruciating ! I yelled in fear and distress, had I broken my back? It felt like it.My cries brought people enjoying a walk to my aid. One rang the ambulance, another took the bike and locked it on a nearby pillar, a couple helped me take my helmet off and placed a soft jacket beneath my head. All comforted me, advising not to move until the ambulance arrived.

People appreciate and never forget that helping hand especially when times are tough.” Catherine Pulsifer

A policewoman arrived to check if a car had been involved. “No”, I said lying there under the bright sun on the road at the end of a cul de sac with a stunning view of the sea opposite, somewhat obscured by the circle of caring strangers.”I just lost my balance” I sheepishly explained.The Ambos came and administered pain relief-along with some much needed light-hearted jollity as they carefully lifted me on the stretcher while taking down my health profile.”I’ll be well enough to fly to China in two weeks?….wont I?” I optimistically enquired. The response was the eerie silence of tumbleweed shifting in the desert wind.

After five hours in the emergency department of the local hospital and a xray , I was allowed to go home.Shattered from pain, shock and fear I rang my family for solace. Before returning to Canberra, I came to accept the painful realisation that I was not fit to travel to,in and around China.

All that research, planning, booking! Resignedly I rang Singapore Air to advise them but surprisingly, they allowed me to reschedule my trip to August and September.And now I am in recovery, visiting a physio and putting an exercise regime in place to strengthen my back.

Reflecting on the accident, I have found some purpose, some meaning in the event. And when I eventually start the journey to China, I will appreciate it even more.

Today I visited an exhibition on Chinese calligraphy at the National Museum. Well, if I couldn’t go to China at the present moment, I could at least visit a small portion of the country and its culture.

The ego sees problem where the soul views process. Whatever you have defined in your life as a shortcoming, as a limitation, as a problem, as an adversity — Anything that the ego has labeled as a problem in one form or another is actually just an evolutionary process that is guiding you out of the childhood of ego and into the adulthood of the soul’s reality. And, of course, for this to occur, many levels of healing are taking place.”Matt Kahn, “The Illusion of Problems”

12 thoughts on “A Backflip on the Journey

  1. So sorry to hear about this, Kate, but your wisdom around it is inspiring (and, actually, just what I needed to hear today in the face of a major ‘backflip’ of my own). Wishes for a full and speedy recovery. (And, yes, China will be wait for you!).


  2. Kate, your travel stories always inspire and delight. This one is different as you delve deeper
    into ourselves. It comforted me this morning. Not all journeys follows a plan but they
    might be equally valuable.

    Get well quick



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