I’ve always had mixed feelings about my first trip abroad. Yeah it was an amazing experience and I had a lot of fun, buuut it definitely wasn’t a perfect trip ( is there even such a thing as a perfect trip?).
Whenever I signed up I was a pretty naive 16-year-old that had only ever imagined hopping on a plane and going on adventures. I think I learned the hard way that things don’t always happen the way we imagine..
Our bad luck started out before even leaving the country. We had about a 5 hour drive to the airport and about halfway in our bus broke down. We sat on the side of the road for a good bit – luckily we didn’t miss our flight.
Once we got to France the first few hours were not at all what I had expected. One of the students couldn’t get into the country because he didn’t have the right visa so they had to arrange him a flight back to America. Imagine getting all the way to France and then having to go right back to where you came from! And then we got lost inside the airport for like an hour with our guide trying to find the charter bus – it was our guides like 2nd time doing the trip so I’ll cut him some slack but still.
We also didn’t have the best luck with hotels. At one hotel the elevator broke down with six kids inside it and another had such a bad bug infestation we had to find a new hotel!
One of the things that I was most excited about doing was helping build a castle from scratch the medieval way (take note I didn’t write about it in the last post). While driving in the mountains we got lost and behind schedule – the airport debacle was major foreshadowing I guess – so when we got there the only medieval thing we got to do is eat mead and sleep in a barn.
Our last week was going pretty good, until the second to last day before we left. After touring the city of Rome we were going to have dinner at the Hard Rock café.. our guide said it was a couple blocks down.. just a short walk. I don’t know what this guy’s version of a short walk is but mine doesn’t involve walking 20 minutes, getting on the subway, and then walking another 15 minutes. Call me a lazy American but THAT’S NOT A COUPLE BLOCKS.
Once we got to the restaurant is when I noticed something. I tried to reach for my phone.. and it wasn’t there. I lost my phone. All those photos – gone. Oh and to top it off the next day I did that thing where you go to throw away something and accidentally threw away my sunglasses instead of the trash haha. But yeah whenever I found out I had lost my phone I called my dad bawling my eyes out saying how terrible the trip had been (I think the sleep deprivation and hunger weren’t helping my emotions either)
Now, whenever I look back on it I see how silly I was being. Yes I may have lost a lot of pictures on my phone and we may not have been able to do all of the planned activities but what really counts is the memories and friends that I made. Some of the most fun times I had were hanging out in the hotels playing card games or talking on the bus rides.
My trip taught me a lot about traveling in general like navigating an airport, staying aware of my surroundings, and dealing with jet lag. It also taught me a lot about what type of traveler I am. Now I know I’m a pretty light weight packer and I’m actually better at finding my way around a foreign town. Seriously I can barely get around my hometown without a gps, it’s sad…
But I think the most important thing that I learned is that every trip has its own mishaps – but it can make for a good story when you get home!
So if you’re ever on a trip that’s not quite going as planned, take it as a learning experience. And remember 1. The unplanned is where the real adventure begins and 2. Being lost isn’t such a bad thing.
Do you have any good (or bad) memories from your first trip? Or any tips that you learned that has helped on your adventures since? Share in the comments below I’d love to hear them!
[This is a 2 part story. To read the first half click here]