Flight delays, cancelled trains, overpriced taxis, talking to a Muslim about the reason for my faith, paying £12 for a pack of smokes, being offered cocaine, drinking terrible beer and being asked by some drunk pillock if I can get him half off at Burger King. Man, I love Liverpool.
I asked God for the grace to conquer through diversity and get out of my comfort zone, but I did not realize how dangerous that could be. My nice, neat spreadsheet was turned on its head. However, I am glad that it did. It taught me to adapt to my surroundings and enjoy the new plans as they approach me.
My love for spreadsheets and endless details has resulted in becoming the travel organizer for my friends. However, for my first trip, I decided to go alone to meet a friend in Liverpool. I had the entire trip planned, including how much I expected to spend. I woke up at 4 a.m. to catch the bus to make it to the airport and eventually, through some connections and trains, Liverpool.
However, even though my plans were flawless, not everyone agreed to follow them. I ended up spending more time and money on my trip. However, while I did not always deal with the suffering in the best way, I learned to enjoy the moment and how to plan for trips better in the future.
“I am never taking a connecting flight again,” I thought. However, while waiting for the flights, I started taking notes. While you can read as many travel guides and tips and tricks as possible, nothing can substitute for real-life experience. I learned about how much travel can consume one’s day, how late the Austrian train station runs the trains and how expensive Ubers and taxi cabs can be when mistakes are made or when flights are delayed.
While I slowly became very tired, especially since I was traveling on a Friday, I kept note of every risk and mistake. Also, I made sure to make what I could of it, like talking to the staff in the airport. Even though each costly mistake was frustrating, I made sure to take note of it for my future travels. Also, I made sure to not cling to my old, rigid schedule. Instead, I made an outline and let Liverpool fill it.
Enjoying the Adventure
From my blank outline, I was able to enjoy my adventure. I found the beauty and fun in every detail. Paying a crazy amount for a taxi since the train was canceled? The taxi driver asked what I was studying and we got to talk about the existence of God. Alone in a big city? I decided to enjoy the music at an Irish pub. Even though I accidentally walked into the middle of a drug deal, which is a tad uncomfortable, I learned something about myself. I realized at about 9 p.m. that I preferred to read a nice book in my warm bed than wander around a city visiting different clubs and bars. What is this?
Even with the ups and downs and the planning, I always had a concrete expectation to enjoy the city. In Liverpool, I was able to look forward to spending a day with a friend who lives there. While going wherever you may be led can be fun, always have a good and grounded expectation that you will enjoy the destination.