How Travel Has Helped Me Deal With Uncertainty.

The other week I was in Switzerland, sitting at a train station – suitcase by my side and phone in hand. As I sent a message to let someone know where I was, my phone died. I only had one thing to mind and fortunately it was the address of where I was meant to be going but I’d been at the station for nearly an hour and I was cold, tired as I’d been travelling since the early morning, and simply wanting to arrive at my destination.

I had reached the point when I’d decided to order myself an uber rather than keep trusting in the public transport, which wasn’t coming together for me on this occasion.

For once, I’d put all my information on the phone. Normally, I have it written down on a piece of paper in my bag as well as on my phone. My battery charger I’d left a couple of weeks back with my son in Los Angeles and it was being a bit of a struggle moving around in a foreign country with my suitcase, as although my broken ankle had now healed. My ligaments, tendons and muscles are still repairing themselves and especially when I get tired, my leg hurts all the more. The extra weight of a suitcase not helpful at all.

Switzerland

I looked around me for a station master – all automated as far as I could see. I felt a sense of disquiet due to my situation. I stopped, breathed deeply and approached a group of young guys to ask them if they could help me. Fortunately for me, they spoke english. But alas were in a hurry themselves and directed me to a train office, which I hadn’t seen. In there I explained the situation to the clerk and although he seemed disinterested – straight away googled the address I was after to help me find my way. Booking me not just a ticket for the train but also a ticket for the bus when I arrived at the train station I was looking for. It seemed to all be going ok for a while and I kicked myself for forgetting that a phone is not something which should have all my information on it and reminded myself that next time a journal or notebook would firmly be tucked in my bag.

Leaving the station, I found the bus stop easily enough. I was patting myself on the back for actually finding my way to it. Although my luck seemed to run out at this point. When I asked the bus driver for the bus stop to the location, he shook his head and looked at me blankly – finally calling out to all passengers, if they knew where I was asking for. Many kindly answered and a few shook their head, my eyes turned to the schoolboy in front of me – a pleading expression had come over my face but he shrugged his shoulders and went back to his phone.

I felt very alone. The bus driver said ‘I go now.’ I stepped off the bus. Feeling very alone, cold and looking around me saw several small hills, houses but no shops. Now my ankle and leg were feeling really sore.

I stood at the bus stop, contemplating my next course of action which would involve knocking on front doors until someone helped me. The late afternoon chill had set in and I was very grateful for the lack of snow where I was. As I looked up I could see it on the hills but I knew the cold would draw in once the sun went down. Fear stayed my friend and companion at this time but in a way – at least I wasn’t completely alone. It was taking my mind off my situation as I dealt with the emotion.

Finally a teenager came down the road and on reaching me, I asked if she had a phone and could help. The sense of relief I felt was immense. I cried. A release of the emotion which had been building up. She was very kind, gave me a cuddle and I was able to phone the office to get the help, support and the lift I needed. She even let me charge my dead phone off her battery pack until her bus arrived.

Such a kind stranger…

All my travels have presented me with challenges to overcome. Having to think things through and work out how to deal with the difficulties on the hoof is energy reducing and hard but its been helpful and through each experience I grow.

During this challenging time we have a chance to grow as people, a community, a nation and a world. I wonder what we’ll all look like on the other side. Dealing with uncertainty is never easy but to tap into the resources we have, from what we have gone through in our lives is always helpful.

How do you deal with uncertainty?

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