If there is one thing that I have learned from being abroad for four months, it’s flexibility. Plans fall through all the time. Travelling with a group of college students also makes you become really flexible. Everyone has a list of items they want to accomplish whenever we travel somewhere new. Somehow, we have to figure out what we are going to eventually do. This typically does not happen before we are out and about exploring. I have learned to accept this even though it goes against my nature as a person who likes to plan everything out by the hour.
Flexibility is also required whenever you are boarding planes, buses, and trains. Many of the flights I have taken in Europe have been delayed. Ryan Air typically adds forty additional minutes to the flight time so they can say that they “arrived on time” to their destination. When I flew from London to Paris the flight really only took 40 minutes. However, taxiing out, taking off, and landing added an extra hour to the overall flight time. I have learned not to be upset with this. I know I will get there somehow, so delays do not deter me. They might annoy me slightly; however, I find it much less annoying than I did at the beginning of the semester. Studying abroad also teaches you patience in this way. I can wait for a delayed train like a champion now. For example, yesterday I took a day trip to Brighton. In order to get back to London, I could only depart on a Thameslink service train. I was not able to board a Southern train and take it to London because my ticket did not cover this. By the time I arrived at the Brighton station, a Thameslink train was supposed to depart in 20 minutes. But after looking at the arrivals board, I realised that the train had been cancelled. The next service was supposed to depart in an hour. I said “okay” to myself and then went to sit outside. After sitting outside for about ten minutes, somebody came beside me and started to smoke a cigarette. Since I do not like the smell, I got up and went back inside. Miraculously, the train was not cancelled anymore, and it was at the platform. I boarded the train and carried on with my plans for the rest of the day. Patience and flexibility are vital when traveling. If you are not in the right mind-set when travelling, everything can begin to annoy you. However, I have noticed that by focusing on flexibility and patience, my adventures have become a lot less stressful. Everything is going to be okay in the end. That’s the motto I have adopted while traveling. Europe helps you learn to live in the moment.
Here is a photograph from my lovely Brighton Day trip.
Brighton is a beautiful beach town that borders the English Channel. There is a famous pier with rides and food on top of it, as well. The town’s atmosphere felt amazing since I arrived on the city’s annual half-marathon day. Random people lined the race course and screamed for strangers after reading their names on their shirts. There was so much positivity flowing and I absolutely loved it. I have never been to a Half Marathon in America; however, I think the encouragement would sound a bit different. The crowd’s enthusiasm was infectious, and I could not help smiling after hearing the woman next to me shout “well done” for the hundredth time. Honestly, it’s these little bits of hidden culture that really make adventuring to a new place so much fun. I had no idea the half marathon was occurring when I booked my train tickets on Sunday; however, I believe that this event made the town livelier and helped me enjoy it more.
The lesson of the day is: be patient and flexible. If you can achieve this, you can achieve peace and happiness.
Until next time,