The day before I left Luang Prabang to head back to Jakarta, I applied online for an Australian visa.  I knew that once I got back to Indonesia, I would only have 4 or 5 months there before I headed back to the west, and I wanted to check out Australia and New Zealand since they’re right there.

I’ve wanted to visit Australia since I was in high school; I don’t have any particular reason why, I just thought it would be cool to see the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House.  Then I met a nice Tasmanian lady at The Jamaican’s house 1 evening a couple of months ago and she told me about the lovely wines that they produce in Tasmania and I wanted to go even more.

I’ve wanted to visit New Zealand since I learned that they still have the Hobbiton set from Lord of the Rings (it was filmed there) and it’s open for tours.  You must understand – I’m a HUGE fan of J.R.R. Tolkien in general and of Lord of the Rings in particular, and I would give my eye-teeth to see how a part of this epic story was brought to life with my own 2 eyes .

So, what with these 2 dream destinations of mine being so close to where I’m currently living, how could I not try to make arrangements to go?  My plan was to visit those 2 countries for a few weeks once I leave Indonesia in a few months before I headed back to the West, stopping in a couple of other places to see friends before going to Jamaica.  My new Indonesian visa gave me 60 clear days from the date I landed back in the country from my vacation to secure visas for these 2 places, before I would need to be visiting my local immigration office every 3 weeks for the next few months, in order to get my visa extended.  I wasted no time getting started on making my dreams come true.

But Australia doesn’t want me in their country.  Yup, for the first time in my entire life, I was denied a visa.  Australia decided that I wouldn’t want to leave their fantastically brilliant country once my vacation time was over, I surmise because I couldn’t say for sure that I would be gainfully employed in some other country at the time of my visit.  Whatever, Australia.  Apparently, my 30 plus years’ travel history of never overstaying my time in any country means nothing to you.

I’m not going to lie – the rejection hurt and it made me angry.  I know that I’m an honest person and I also know that I have zero desire to live in Australia.  I just wanted to see the place and drink some excellent wine.  Of course, I understand that they’re trying to protect their country from people who think it’s the Holy Grail of places to live, but I felt like my integrity was in question and that was a truly nauseating feeling.  Unfortunately, Australia is now a little tainted for me.

I moved on to New Zealand because, really, Hobbiton was calling to me more loudly than the Sydney Opera house or Tasmanian wine, anyway.  I was almost done with the application when I got a strong sense that I shouldn’t complete it now because they would also reject me.  I don’t think I made the decision to not submit my application out of a fear of rejection.  But based on the questions that were coming up on the application to do with employment at the time of my travel and my rejection by Australia (I had to declare that in 1 section of the application), I knew that chances were very high that I wouldn’t get a visa, and I didn’t want to ruin my future chances of seeing Hobbiton; getting a visa later might be more difficult if they reject me now.  Besides, New Zealand isn’t going anywhere; I’ll get there some day.

This experience gifted me with a valuable lesson of which I perhaps needed reminding.  Not everything that I want, wants me in return, and not everything I want is good for me to get when I want it.  As annoyed as I was at Australia for rejecting me, I truly believe that this was God blocking something I wanted to do that He’s not ready for me to do, for whatever reason.  I don’t pretend to know why but I know it was Him.  Not only did He block me with a rejection from Australia, He also stopped me from attempting to go to New Zealand.  I know it was the Holy Spirit that stopped me because I felt Him as the thought came to me that now isn’t a good time to apply for that visa, and it was while I was repeatedly clicking the ‘Submit’ button on the application that just wouldn’t go through.

So yes, I was rejected, but it won’t kill me.  There are many other places in this world for me to see, and I know He’ll open up the way for me to see some of those instead on my way west.  This is just 1 of those cases where my plans were not His plans.

And so it goes.


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