How getting detained and deported from London airport taught me some of my most life-changing and valuable lessons, read on to find out what they are…

Have you ever had an idea on how things should go and then “bang” the universe sends you something so completely different and sends your entire life into a SPIN.

Ummmm YES!

I was talking about this story the other night with some friends and it really hit home to me that I have experienced so many life-changing experiences in my life and I have really underestimated the impact it has had on me, but also, more importantly, the lessons I have learnt from them once I have come out of the storm.

This was definitely one of them… and let me tell you it wasn’t pretty or FUN at the time!

Let me share a little bit about the time I flew 20 or so hours from Perth to London (we all know what these long-haul flights are like) to only get detained at the airport, put in a holding room with criminals and sent straight back to Perth about 10 hours later for another 20 hour flight.

Yep, you can do the calculation on what trauma my body and mind went through over those 50 or so hours)

So how did this happen?

I was living in London for about 3 years and I was doing the Australian work visa thing as we do, only planning on staying 2 years. However, in that time I had met a very charming man who ended up having a massive hold on me.

FIRST LESSON – don’t ever give your happiness to anyone (but that’s another story)

I had to fly home for a short period of time to sort out some family stuff and I was DETERMINED to go back to London to be with him. So I booked a one-way ticket back with the intention of going back to live indefinitely. I knew I wasn’t ready for my London experience to be over and I felt that my journey was to be there with him.

Now a bit of real talk… I knew that it was a bit of a risk going back because I had completed the 2-year visa. BUT I was not going to let that small technicality stop me.

Turns out I was wrong.

I arrived at London airport, a woman on a mission, only to be taken aside by customs and put to the test. I was so certain that I would easily be able to sweet talk my way out of this situation and be on the plane towards UK in no time… I was so wrong!

I was interrogated for hours about my intentions for being back to London. Finally, I was told that I would NOT be entering the country. WHAT? But I am here already. My boyfriend is literally waiting patiently for my smiling face to walk out of the departures gate. They told me I would be detained in a holding cell for over 10 hours with other “criminals” (WAIT…other? You’re calling me a criminal? I mean what did I do that was so wrong?!?).  

The worst part was that I wasn’t even allowed to see my boyfriend. I was devastated knowing he was so close but yet so far away to me). To say I went into SHOCK was an understatement, my entire body went into trauma and I felt so out of control. All I could think was THIS WASN’T MEANT TO HAPPEN!?!

I was escorted to a holding cell with other people who had committed crimes (real crimes just to add) and they were being sent back to their countries. That was a very interesting 10 hours let me tell you that, I was scared, I was sad, I was overwhelmed, I felt trapped, I felt out of control like never before.

I was then escorted on to the plane by customs and sent all the way back to Perth, and yes you guessed it – I cried all the way home. The lady sitting next to me just stared the entire time (how ineffective was that may I add). After landing back in Perth (nearly 3 days after this entire ordeal first began) I was emotionally and physically drained. I didn’t know what to do next as I wasn’t prepared for this outcome. I mean, I had it all WORKED out remember???

But I what I did next is really the morale of this blog post.

I sat in the pain for the time that I needed. I gained my strength again and re-visited what my vision looked like. I was NOT giving up on my London journey as I knew I had to go back there one way or another and learn more life lessons. So I came up with an action plan.  I took inspired action, got myself a student visa and booked another return ticket back (this time round I was a bit more calculated and went via Amsterdam just to be safe).

I was told by my College that I got the student visa, however, there were NO guarantees that I would even get back in… but I was willing to take that RISK. Nothing was stopping me from following the path I had envisioned for myself. Of course, people thought I was crazy even trying but I didn’t care. I set off on my way, feeling extremely nervous but I keep my intention for what outcome I wanted and stayed positive.

And most importantly I surrendered all OUTCOMES to the universe…

So how did it all work out for me you wonder?

Well, I encountered a really lovely customs man at Amsterdam airport who was very compassionate as to what had happened (so much so that he even wiped the big BLACK mark that was on the system clean) and he wished me well…

RELIEF! I was in! No holding cell this time, no setbacks. Only steps forward from here on out.  

All that persistence paid off because that following year in London was one of the best years of my life. Going through those testing times was so worth it.

Although I never wish to be in that same position I was in customs – having no control over my fate in that moment. I am appreciative of that experience as I learned some really life-changing lessons during that time which have carried me through over the years.

SECOND LESSON – never give up on what you want. It is so important to now throw in the towel when things get hard. Instead, take inspired action and come up with a plan. Truly believe that anything is possible. Trust yourself. Always SURRENDER to the outcome and know you are always being supported whether you can see it or not.

Life isn’t always meant to be easy. It is meant to be a journey. One with highs and lows. We need it that way so we can learn and grow on our path of self-discovery. And that journey will never end. In fact, as I was writing this blog I had a lot of feelings come up in my body – anxiety mostly as I remembered being in that moment of fear and uncertainty. Even now, all these years later I still need to do some more work around this past experience of mine and dig deep into the emotions so that I can clear the trauma still lingering in my cells.

Always be open to the journey, not just the destination, and always be ready to keep peeling the layers!!