Problem-Solving with a Smile!

Living abroad has exposed me to new challenges I have never faced in the United States. Many of these challenges occur when traveling to new places, since there is a lack in ability to communicate. A lot of the time, these issues can be avoided by going into every situation with a positive attitude and open mind. For example, while traveling in countries outside of Italy, we have managed to take every mode of transportation. One of the modes we have perfected was using the train system. However, when traveling between four different countries during spring break, we realized that the train system is a little bit different, and the train stations are more confusing than the ones we were familiar with in Italy. In one occasion, we almost missed our train because we kept getting on and off the same train because we were getting mixed answers from multiple people about if we had to reserve a seat on the train or not.

Another weekend, I was taking a weekend trip to the east coast of Italy with a friend from home. Usually, when you take the trains, you get off the “central” station in whichever town you are traveling too. We randomly chose to make a pitstop in a town we had heard about from the locals but didn’t have it planned out in advanced. When we got off at the train station, we realized we were in the middle of nowhere, three miles from the main town we wanted to get to. That was the day we found out that central stations are not always as central as they advertise.

These two situations are small mishaps that can happen when traveling. Luckily, my travel partners and I are always able to laugh it off and creatively problem solve. Traveling comes with ambiguity and confusion, even if you are a meticulous planner like myself. Sometimes making a mistake and ending up in the middle of nowhere leads you to the most beautiful walk along the Adriatic coast, or you find yourself meeting many local people who are just as confused as you but very friendly! Traveling can be confusing at times, but it teaches you how to be independent and think in new ways. If there is one thing that has gotten me through all of the almost-missed trains/flights, overweight bags, and long conversations with customer service, it is my ability to smile in any situation!

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