Going with the flow while traveling is especially important, when so much is out of your control. The flow takes you up, takes you down, takes you up again.
If you resist, you’ll likely end up miserable and miss out on various interesting opportunities and synchronicity.
Yes, this all relates to an adventurous day I had in Barcelona, Spain:
- I head from a hotel I had stayed at to walk 1/3 of a mile to catch a bus. All of a sudden the bus I needed pulls up to me. I hop on.
- 10 minutes later I realize the bus was right in front of where I need to get off, much to my surprise (thought I’d have to walk a couple of blocks). An auspicious start to the day, or so I thought.
- I get to the new hotel to leave my bag. The girl gives me a weird look.Um, are you reserved for tonight? I remind her I had emailed. She tells me
- I had requested a room for the next night.
- She had emailed me back after the guy had confirmed it saying they hadn’t actually confirmed it and in fact it was given away. Which was irrelevant since I was going to be flying home the next day. Duh.
LESSON: Instead of beating myself up for being such an idiot (I even re-confirmed the wrong date), I decided to be happy for not thinking my *flight* was on the wrong date which would have been much more catastrophic.
She makes a couple of calls. Everyone is full.
She let me go online, even as other guests wanted to use the computer. I post on Couch Surfing to find an “emergency couch” — because this is in the days before Airbnb — then decide I can’t stand the stress of waiting to hear from people…plus it is generally not well received to be looking for a place just to crash even though I sincerely want tomake new friends.
I end up booking at a hostel and thank her profusely. Then I offer her this cute shirt I had brought thinking I’d sell it. She doesn’t want it but thanks me profusely and we have a nice conversation…and I feel like we’ve made a connection.
The adventure continues…
I hop on the metro and get to the new hostel. It’s beautiful and I wish I’d discovered it earlier and am looking forward to cooking some seafood as my last meal here. I’m excited to be in a new neighborhood that I find more pleasant than any others and find a local market where I discover wine in a box – a souvenir must! 😉
I head back to the metro and some EMTs carry a dead body in a bag by me. Totally utterly weird. I’m mad that I got on a subway line that was out of the way from where I was going but figure I can discover a new place. There’s a guy sitting huddled on this ramp thing using a Mac laptop. I suggest taking a picture of him since where he sits is such an odd sight, encircled with clear plexiglass. He agrees and pulls out a nice camera and admires my shot. He’s an aussie giving tours and turns out was at La Tomatina!
A random friend is made — only while traveling?
We walk a few blocks together, have a nice chat, and shoot pictures of African men being chased off by police carrying their knock off wares in huge bags on their backs like nomads.
We part and I wander around deciding where to have my last lunch…and making sure it is not bad, unlike the last few meals I’ve had. I pick a place that looks like it has only locals. It’s air conditioned and turns out to have the best food I’ve enjoyed at a great price (Diversus in the Born District in Barcelona). Peaceful, beautiful lighting, just the right amount.
A nice person from Couch Surfing writes and says he isn’t around but will introduce me to someone who is town. Hopefully by days end I will have some new friends!
Today will surely bring more ups, more downs, more happy flat lines.
By the way I’ve found that sketching as I travel is extremely relaxing and sort of interesting. I don’t know “how” to sketch but try to imitate when I see art. For example at the Dali museum there were tons of sketches of bodies. I tried seeing the artistic strokes at a micro level to see if I could replicate and even though mine were more child like than Dali-esque it still is a good way to get into the flow especially on a long voyage. 🙂