“Have a safe free weekend of travel. Remember things will go wrong but you will figure it out.”
Our professor, Maxey Parrish, said these wise words to us on our last class day before we were all about to part ways for our free weekend of travel during our six-week study abroad program in Budapest.
I don’t get travel anxiety anymore. I am used to planes, buses and trains, so it never enters my mind that anything could go wrong.
Maddie, Sarah and I headed out early Friday morning to start our journey to Greece. Our ultimate destination for the weekend was Santorini, but we first had to fly from Budapest to Athens.
Upon arrival in Athens, we knew we had a long layover before our flight to the Aegean Island of Santorini. We recharged our electronics, got some refreshments, then headed over to the kiosks to check in early for our flight.
Through broken English and visible frustration, the scary gate lady, and that’s what I’m going to call her because in a time of such high stress she was NOT helping, told us we were not on that flight.
Three happy travelers’ happy mood suddenly changed: Denial. Confusion. Panic.
“Are you sure you’re looking up our names correctly?”
“It says 5 o’clock on our ticket. Are you positive the computer is correct?”
“There has to be some mistake … ”
Before scary gate lady said it we soon realized that we forgot about military time. 5:00 means in the morning. 17:00 is the time we wanted.
Usually, my panic mode self brings on tears. I would freak out, call my mom about what to do and kick myself for not double-checking the time. But Maddie, Sarah and I surprisingly stayed calm.
We remembered what our professor told us before we left. “Things will go wrong.” These four words brought us some kind of serenity.
After the stress storm ended and we ran about three miles through the airport trying to find the Aegean airlines ticketing office, we got seats on the 5 p.m. flight pretty painlessly.
We could’ve let this little blip in the road influence our whole trip. We could’ve said, “Well, looks like this whole trip is going to go wrong.” But instead we laughed. It became a story to tell.
Of course we want every trip to go according to schedule. We want to be on time for flights, at every tour possible, see everything on our bucket lists, always have sun and never clouds. But that simply isn’t possible.
Just Maxey told us, things will go wrong. And when they do, you can’t panic or let it ruin your whole trip. Being able to troubleshoot and stay optimistic in those situations is so important and a major lesson that we were able to take away from our Greece trip.