Train doors open in a clatter as you run out onto the platform. Late again, for a train going the wrong direction; the escalators and crowds and announcements are disorienting. The hotel is not much better, long stretches of narrow corridors with dim yellow lighting give the space an eerie feeling. Matching wallpaper and burgundy carpeting on each floor, with that strange smell of housekeepers’ cleaning products hanging in the air.
Travel inevitably comes with making some mistakes. The first few attempts to plan interesting travel excursions, whether far-off or local, usually have some unexpected consequences. From sketchy hotels, to the annoyances of cheap travel, to late night conversations with strangers in dorm rooms- the unplanned events from travel mistakes can be frustrating, but they can also be fascinating. Mistakes lead to all number of conclusions, but every time, they lead to stories we’ll be telling for years to come.
Of course, problems and mistakes are subjective. One person’s mistake is another person’s opportunity- but how do we turn those mistakes into opportunities?
Let’s take the age-old mistake of badly chosen accommodation. It’s important to note here, that there are some moments when it’s best to cut our losses and run: if the accommodation is unsafe, potentially dangerous, or poses actual health risks- it’s absolutely time to book a last-minute budget room and move on. But in most cases, of unexpected low quality, crowded hostel dorms, or non-ideal locations, there are ways to turn these issues into benefits.
In a crowded hotel or hostel, there are plenty more people to speak to, connections to be made, and even better if it’s a safe environment for kids to get a chance to socialise. Lower quality rooms can always be ignored too, they offer the chance to explore more of the local sights and to give some motivation to leave the hotel room. How about showing up to realise that your hotel isn’t exactly in the primo location you aniticipated? Well, now is the chance to find the local routes to your favourite spots, and perhaps explore some of the tourist-free areas of your travel location.
Even poor map reading leads us to new locations, late trains give us a chance to joke with those around us about the perils of travel. Mistakes are inevitable, so instead of letting them get the better of us we can learn from them, and find joys in them. Sometimes, mistakes create the most memorable parts of our travel experiences, and we’ll be talking about them for years to come.
What mistakes have you made while travelling, and what have you learned from them?
Featured image: Annika Gordon via Unsplash.