Dealing with Travel Worries

English Garden in Munich

Around 11 p.m., I thought about a lot.

Having arrived on our delayed Vueling flight from Munich to Barcelona, we sat in a cab with an elderly driver who spoke no English but could read the map on my phone that only loaded because I had taken the time to connect to the free airport WiFi while waiting at baggage claim.

What if I hadn’t bothered with filling in fake personal information just to get those few minutes of WiFi that ended up helping the taxi driver know exactly where to go? Now looking back, I suppose I could have done it while in the cab, but how smoothly successfully telling a non English-speaking driver where to go just made me think.

Even with his assurance, I couldn’t help but check the map every now and then, making sure that we were headed the right direction. We were.

Traveling produces a lot of “what ifs.” What if the flight had been cancelled or delayed further? It was already nearly midnight. I had no way of contacting the Airbnb host without WiFi. In fact, as we dragged our suitcases to building No. 70, we faced a conundrum. Which button to ring?

Exhausted, we desperately tried to connect to “Barcelona WiFi,” what apparently looked like citywide free WiFi. But impatience grew. It wasn’t working. I didn’t know which button. Why wasn’t this communicated before? I remember looking around at passersby. What if we asked them to use their phones?

Somehow, luck was on our side. The door opened. A man with graying hair looked at me. I can imagine how pathetic we must have appeared. Worried. Tired. Phones out but failing to connect. Slowly, he asked, “Sonia?”

YES! We made our way up the narrow but colorfully tiled staircases. Surprisingly strong, he carried our heavy suitcases, one by one, up I don’t even know how many flights of stairs. Finally, we entered, greeted by his adorable wife, Laura. They weren’t mad. I apologized for arriving so late. His only response was a forceful, “Relax!”

Relax. The worries that come out of traveling in a foreign country whose language you don’t know or understand are natural. But it’s important to keep in mind that traveling also requires relaxing. You have to accept that things will work out, whether in a direction you had expected or not.

Our mood lightened considerably as our lovely hosts showed us around. Already, we’ve declared that they have given the friendliest welcome of the Airbnb hosts we’ve encountered.

“In the…eh…”

Kitchen?

“Yes, there’s, eh, some, cake. For tomorrow morning! You eat!”

The wife had apologized early on for her bad English.

It’s okay. We came to Spain not preparing to speak any Spanish. But I’m confident we’ll find our way and have a great time.