This week, I went on a four-day trip to Scotland with my study abroad program and experienced what happens when things didn’t go according to plan, how I handled it the best I could, and what I learned from the experience.
We arrived in Scotland late that night and were taken to a youth hostel. Unfortunately, a mistake was made when booking the rooms and the hostel employees didn’t have room for all of us. The people in charge of our trip made arrangements and half of the girls were sent to a hotel while the other half were taken to another hostel. The hotel rooms were significantly nicer than the hostel and two people were assigned to each room. In the hostel, fifteen girls shared one room. To the hostel girls, this was an unfair arrangement and we felt frustrated being crammed in a small room with not enough space for our things, which made maneuvering difficult. Some people complained the entire time we stayed there, which made the experience even worse. I thought it was best to accept the situation and make the best out of it. I was glad our hostel room only consisted of other students in the program and we didn’t have any strangers with us. Mistakes happen when traveling but it’s important to learn from them and do better next time. I learned that traveling requires us to be able to adjust to situations out of our control and that there are many instances where things don’t work out the way we plan for them to. When I plan trips in the future, I will be extra vigilant concerning travel details.
Other times when things didn’t work out the way I planned them is when using public transport. I would leave the house early for class but would get slowed down on the bus on the way to the tube station. To get to class, I had to take one bus and two tubes. This meant that every step of my plan would be delayed by ten to fifteen minutes depending on the bus. I understand that this happens and will try to plan for traffic or increased stops, but sometimes, it’s not possible to over-plan. Using public transport in different countries can be confusing and difficult to navigate, but once it is learned and understood, it’s very convenient and easy to get around town—especially in London. Once I learned how to navigate around London, I felt comfortable taking trips out of town as well as out of the country.
Both of these experiences have taught me so much about traveling. I’ve learned to not expect the perfect execution of a travel plan because while it’s possible to arrange and plan everything perfectly, things that are out of our control (and in our control) can still go wrong. There are no guarantees when traveling but it’s important to be flexible and see mistakes as learning opportunities. I hope to travel to more countries throughout my time abroad!