By the time I landed in Amsterdam, I had been awake for 20 hours. My insulin pump had become dislodged when my seatmate decided to flail his arms around when we landed in London, and my blood sugars were rebounding from that debacle. By the time I landed at Schipol Airport, I was hungry and exhausted, but excited to begin my adventures. All I wanted was to head to my hostel, grab a quick shower, and find a Febo for a quick meal. I mean, it was still daylight; surely I would be able to explore, right? I got directions for which train to take to my hostel, and went on my merry way.
What I didn't realize is that there was construction on part of my route. The stop I thought I was supposed to use was shut down. I got off a stop before that, and decided to walk. And walk I did. Over cobblestoned streets, through parks, and into a city square that I just KNEW would lead me where I was supposed to be. That didn't happen. I walked for two hours, then grabbed a map to try to figure out where I was and where I needed to be. That was no help. I used data to pull up the Rome2Rio app; although that is usually a huge help to me, for that day, it had me walking in circles.
BUT...I experienced so much, and leaned a lot. I drank a soft drink at Burger King. I sat on a wall across the street from a concert hall full of teens cheering for the Netherlands' hottest band. I talked to a police officer, whom I thought was a taxi cab driver, and he was so nice. Finally, after 6 hours wandering around the Centraal station area, I found my Hostel, checked in, got my shower, and went out to eat. I knew where to go, now, and I enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep twice during dinner, but that, too, is a special memory.
Next I went to Germany. Deutschland. The place where my exchange student, Malte's, family was hosting us. Emily and I met up at the train station. I immediately hit it off with Malte's Mom, and enjoyed watching Malte drive us to his home. The next day, we saw castles and cathedrals. Then we returned to Malte's house. Malte's family lives in a home we would call a condominium. We parked in a different spot near his neighbor's farm. While I turned to get photos of the animals, everyone else walked back to Malte's house. I turned around and realized...I was hopelessly lost. I walked around for a while before calling Emily to tell her I was lost. Before long, Malte's whole family was outside calling for me. It was embarrassing, but it's a wonderful memory (and I got some great pictures of his neighbor's animals).
I learned that getting lost can be a fun adventure. I created some memories that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I have a lot of wonderful anecdotes that are good for some laughs. Maybe getting lost isn't so bad after all!