This past summer, I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy with some classmates of mine. It was not priced for everyone, and I’ll admit I was not planning on going at first, but when my parents decided we could afford it, I was on my way. On June 16th we arrived in Rome, travelled for a week or so in the central region of the peninsula, and made or final stop in Venice.
If you have never been to Venice before, let me first give some background information on it. The city is entirely built upon water, and is composed of over 160 islands, most of which are manmade. There are no cars, only boats and sidewalks. The network of alleyways makes a tightly-knit labyrinth of dead ends and sharp turns. This is where I ended up.
Our group had just been deposited on the dock after a rather bumpy gondola ride, and I was feeling ill. So I decided to return to Hotel Belle Epoque where we were staying. Our guide had told us the way: follow the signs to Piazza San Marco, and from there follow the signs to la ferrovia (the train station). I headed in the direction I felt was logical and walked for ten minutes or so. Then nothing seemed familiar to me. When I asked a shopkeeper the way to la ferrovia, he replied, “That’s very far, you must take a taxi.” He meant a water taxi, as that is the only public transportation they have. I didn’t have money for one, so I just kept walking.
An hour after I had set out, I was in a brand new area. I walked into dead ends four times and was feeling a little sunburnt. But every person I met was so kind, and was more than willing to point me in the right direction. Finally I saw the Piazza San Marco and the signs telling me the way back. And that’s when I realized, I hadn’t felt scared the entire time. I wasn’t relieved to see that familiar structure at all. I was disappointed.
Getting lost in Venice was an eye-opening experience for me. It taught me that you can’t stick to one path your whole life; you have to tread over the lines and into the unknown. I am so grateful to have travelled outside my home, and now I am ready to begin another adventure: college, adulthood, and perhaps some more globe-trotting. I understand that jumping out of your comfort zone may not appeal to some people, but it’s definitely worth it if you don’t mind getting a little lost.
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