Take this as an opportunity – or a silver lining – for a new adventure, or at the very least, for a funny story.
When traveling, plans are bound to go astray. Unless you possess the organizational skills of an IKEA warehouse architect, be prepared for slight mishaps lingering on the horizon. However, when your compass shakes, causing your journey to re-route, don’t panic. Take this as an opportunity – or a silver lining – for a new adventure, or at the very least, for a funny story.
Recently, a friend and I backpacked across Europe. Laden with several copies of our itinerary, photocopies of identification and passports and enough medication to support a small hospital, we felt prepared.
My mother hand hugged me at the airport, requested a text every week notifying her that I am still breathing but ultimately pushed me towards a self sufficient and independent trip. I am thankful for that, as when things went wrong, I relied on my gut instinct to solve problems and I grew as not only a traveler, but as a thinker.
And boy did things go wrong.
During our 3 months in Europe, we decided to go to Oktoberfest in Munich. The proactive individual within me booked our accommodation 9 months in advance, ensuring we would save money, score a prime location and reduce later stress. As the event drew closer, we began to compare itineraries with close friends, and came to realize, our Munich dates did not align with others. The dates we booked were based off the previous years Oktoberfest. We cancelled our accommodation and re-routed, planning to spend the week in Berlin instead, as being in Munich is the week prior to the festival and being present for the preparations and build up would surely tug at our heartstrings.
Silver lining: I would go as far to say that the week we had in Berlin was the highlight of the trip.
Traveling through Prague, we decided to treat ourselves for a few nights and as we had managed to save a bit more money, we booked a luxurious hotel room online. Using our iPhone maps and following the website’s instructions, we walked the streets with our backpacks hoping to stumble upon it. “You have reached your destination.” We looked up at our promised hotel, and merely saw a construction site. Workers informed us the hotel was under renovation and had been for months. Desperate, homeless and out of pocket, we crossed the street to the opposite hotel and begged for a room. We were finally settled for the night, but were abruptly woken at 6 am and told we had to leave, it had been double booked. I went down to reception, voiced my anger and was not only heard, but also upgraded.
Silver lining: We went from homeless, to staying in another hotel in the penthouse suite at the cost of a regular room.
In Amsterdam, we had booked a 4-person dorm for two of us, expecting to meet and befriend two fellow backpackers. Upon arrival, we were informed that we were in fact stationed in a 14-person dorm. Walking up 3 flights of Dutch stairs with our luggage, we were welcomed with billowing smoke and 6 male occupied bunk beds. Our initial reluctance of being two sheltered girls in a male dominated room transformed into a relaxed vibe, as we bonded with the rooms current inhabitants and felt increasingly more comfortable.
Silver lining: We not only befriended our roommates, but scored a personal body guard in the form of the receptionist, calling us his “princesses” and ensuring he would look after us.
Traveling from Venice to Nice (South of France), we opted for an overnight bus, hoping to sleep while we were transported and arrive at our destination in the morning, saving on a night of paid accommodation. Our driver, however, was accelerator happy, and we arrived well ahead of schedule, at 11pm. Our hostel in Nice only allowed for check in at 11 am, and reception was only open from 8am, rendering us incapable of scheduling the advertised pickup. We spent the night wandering the streets of Nice, avoiding suspicious individuals and trying to stay awake.
Silver lining: While our travels did not go according to plan, we spent the night bonding and laughing, as we turned a potentially bad situation into a fun adventurous night.
Spoiler alert for traveling: plans will almost definitely at one point or another not work out or go as smoothly as anticipated. All you can do is strap yourself in and ride it out, as with traveling, the glass is always half full. See each misadventure as an opportunity for a new adventure and even when things go bad, you will never have a bad time.
Article written by Carly Brand.