Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up

What happens when something goes wrong while your traveling?

Let's face it. It's bound to happen. In fact, on every single trip I've taken, something has gone wrong. It's inevitable. You get sick. You lose your keys. You have something stolen. All of these things will happen if you're a traveler, and there really is not much you can do to prevent these things from happening all the time.

So, when something goes wrong, speak up. Tell someone. Talk to someone who may be able to help you. It's better than suffering alone, and it's one way to ensure that your suffering will be lessened.

For instance, I just got back from a ten day spring break trip to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. While it was, quite possibly, one of the best times of my life, it also came with its own handful of problems. It's to be expected, especially considering I was traveling to 4 countries in 10 days with 120 people. Things go wrong, and the best thing that I could do was ask for help when I needed it.

The perfect example of what to do when things go wrong was when I was on this trip. To put it simply, I had a lot of problems with locks and keys. For some reason, the god of locks and keys was not on my good side throughout my spring break.

In Prague, I locked my suitcase in order to keep my belongings safe in the hostel room while I was out exploring the city. The second day into the trip, I lost the keys to the lock. I sat there frustrated for a few minutes, pissed off at myself for losing the keys, and then decided to do something about it. Sitting in my room sulking would not solve the problem, so I went to the reception desk of the hostel and asked if anyone had turned in a blue lanyard with two keys on it. The answer? "No." I walked back up to my room even more frustrated, sat on the floor, and fiddled with the lock and two bobby pins in hopes that I would somehow open the lock like they do in the movies. The result? No luck. So I walked back down to the reception desk and this time asked the receptionist if he was able to break a lock. After getting a puzzled look, I told him that I had locked my suitcase and lost the keys, and he smiled, went to the back room, and grabbed a lock cutter the size of my arm. He followed me up to my room, broke the lock for me, and we laughed--me at my stupidity and him at the fact that "It happens all the time."

Additionally, in Prague, I also locked myself out of my room. But the best part of it was that I locked myself out of my room while I was off to take a shower. So not only was I locked out of my room, but I was in a towel with my shampoo and conditioner bottles. This time there was no chance I was walking down to reception since I was dripping water and in a towel. I locked myself in the bathroom, and thought, "Well... my room mates should be back in an hour after their Czech beer tasting... I'll wait until they get back." Of course, I got bored after twenty minutes of sitting in the bathroom, and decided it would be smarter to wander the hallway in hopes of running into a girl who I could ask to run down to reception for me. Lucky me, I found a girl, and she helped me out. I got into my room and was able to get my clothes.

Then, as if that wasn't enough of locks and keys, I ended up sleep walking out into the hallway in Amsterdam without my room key. After spending several minutes banging on the door hoping to wake one of my room mates up after I realized I was out of the room, I paced the hallway deciding what to do. Should I go out into the bar/reception area in my pajamas even though the bar was still rockin'? Or do I sit like a lost (and sleepy) puppy in the hallway. Of course, I go to reception. I was greeted with some chuckles and pointing... but I got back into my room.

So the moral of my stories? Don't be afraid to speak up, even if it makes you look dumb, or ridiculous, or lost, or silly, or anything. Because more often than not, you aren't the only person it's happened to, and others can help you out of embarrassing situations. It's better to speak up than to be left out of your element.

Do you have any stories of when something went wrong during your travels? Was something stolen? Did you miss a train? Were you locked out of a room or your suitcase? What did you do to solve the problem and what did you learn from it?


  1. Your stories are too funny. :) I'll admit that I'm often hesitant to speak up if I think it'll make me look ridiculous - especially if I'm not comfortable speaking in the local language - but I just need to get over that fear. Everyone experiences embarrassing situations, especially when traveling. Sometimes they make for the best stories. :) Great advice!

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Laura!

    Definitely don't let language barriers or cultural differences stop you from speaking up :-) It's always better to speak up, cause that way you at least have a chance of getting what you need!

    Best of luck in your future travels,

    Also, follow my blog to keep up with future posts :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...