When Things Go Wrong Traveling

Travel Gone Wrong

This is a major blow to my coolness factor, but I like things to go as planned. Maybe it’s a type-A personality thing, or maybe it’s the oldest child syndrome, but I usually like things to generally go in order.

So why I am living in Italy I do not know. Not exactly the place to live with that attitude.

When traveling, we are supposed to be able to be flexible and able to adapt to our surroundings. We all have our skills and weaknesses, and this is mine. When plans do not go as planned, I tend to stress and fall apart.

I had an apartment lined up in Italy when I arrived here, but it immediately fell through. Of course, some freaking out, some extra nights in a hostel, and some major pizza eating was all involved. Why didn’t things go my way? Even after I had slaved and slaved trying to make sure all the necessary arrangements fell into place?

Because that’s not how travel (or life) works. At all. You just have to do the best you can. When most of us imagine the journeys we are about to take, we always picture the ideal or the end destination—instead of accepting the idea that the travels we take are about the process. Sometimes it will be hard. And sometimes we want to be home rather than experiencing the hard and difficult times.

I was so fortunate to have my dear friend (and former roommate from the study abroad days) join me on this journey. She has been such a wonderful companion for me as we trudge twenty-six miles from one end of Florence to the other. She has also taught me other lessons about being a better traveler—that just because things do not go as planned does not mean that it’s the end of the world. In fact, those are the events down the line that we tend to laugh about and enjoy later. If everything went perfectly, there would be no point in having a journey of your own, which is the whole purpose of travel.

This experience has taught me a lot about myself—that I can make things work even when it’s not how I’ve predicted or planned, that you need a good pair of boots wherever you are headed, and bring some extra gumption for difficult moments.

Guess what? It’s not the end of the world.


  1. tommyg1231

    I traveled a lot abroad and I had a Buddhist travel agent who use to put the element of surprise into my journey by leaving a part of the tripped unplanned so I had to discover on my own what to do.
    I had some wonderful creative experiences in Paris, Amsterdam, The Greek Islands to name a few.
    Well I wanted to see Spain so he got me a ticket to Barcelona and that was all. I had two weeks to fill in those days and nights. I had no lodgings or place to stay. I had to figure it all out and I was excited at this point having developed some courage in my other travel romps.
    After landing I took a cab and asked the driver to take me to a nice hotel. Once there I went to check in and the concierge told me “I’m very sorry sir but this is a major holiday in Spain and all hotels are sold out”.
    Well I kind of went numb and felt like toddler who lost his parents in the mall. I’m standing on the side walk of Las Ramblas, a popular Main Street in the city, and I’m not feeling to good. I’m standing along side two large suitcases and I feel lost with not a clue what to do. I had a lot of fear I was trying to subdue well a voice in my head spoke to me and told me to find a place to sip a Cappacinno.
    I honestly said out loud, “that’s the stupidest thing to do”, like how is sipping a Cappacinno going to do anything. Well again the voice said in a emotionless way, “find a place to sip a Cappacinno”. Well I’m upset at this voice now and I’m walking across this big street with two huge suitcases feeling like a fool while I’m talking to myself in a argument.
    I find a cafe/diner across the street and I situate my luggage in a way outside that I can see it and I go inside.
    I’m sitting in the seat and I’m honestly telling what ever that little voice is, “I hope your happy now”. Well the waiter comes by and I order a Cappacinno and ask him in fractured English/Spanish if anyone speaks English.
    Someone from the kitchen comes out and he is a very nice guy and asks me what he can do for me. Well I explained my situation and asked if he had any idea what I could do.
    He gave me a piece of paper with a Steet, hotel and a name who he said was the manager. He told me to mention his name to him.
    When I got to the Hotel I asked for him. He happened to be the manager of a very nice hotel. He didn’t have the same comforting personality though of his friend who recommended him. Well after I explained my dilemma and mentioned the man who sent me to him, he looked at me in a discerning manner and said “I can give you a room but only for two days”. Well that was a relief but it still had me in a pickle. After putting my stuff in the room I walk out the front door with not a clue what to do. I stood on the sidewalk, looked to my right and then to my left. As I did I saw a sign for a travel agency. I walked in and found someone who spoke English and told her of my plight. Well she looked at me with a smile and said do you like the beach, we have two beautiful islands a short distance of the coast. Ibiza and Mallorca that a quick plane plane ride will take me too.
    I had the most wonderful time exploring beaches, cliffs and cafes, Castlels that served incredible Desserts with falling roses at midnight from above, quaint little towns that it seemed everyone had a smile to share.
    It was a dream

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