Last year I embarked on my first solo overseas trip, and travelled to the land of the rising sun: Japan. Japan had been my dream destination for years, so to finally have the opportunity to travel there was the best feeling in the world. When I landed, however, I was greeted with the news that no one wants to hear: “Sorry, but your luggage is still at the connecting airport”.
Then, it dawned on me.
I was in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home, with no friends or family. I barely knew any Japanese and I had absolutely no idea what to do. It’s safe to say I cried like a baby, after travelling for 23 hours this was not the news I wanted to hear.
I soon realised though that things were not as negative as they seemed. After wandering round Narita airport for 2 hours trying to find clothes that fit me (which was virtually impossible being 5’9 and towering over everyone), I eventually made it to the hotel where I met my fellow Contiki travellers. I was met with such a warm friendly reception. My roommate offered me clothes, toiletries – anything I needed (even though I had just met her). A day later, when the bags eventually arrived, we were all sat in the hotel lobby and the whole group erupted in cheers when my bags and I were ‘reunited’. It then became a recurring joke on the trip that my bags would possibly not make it to the next hotel destination.
I know it sounds strange, but I’m actually grateful that my luggage was not there when I initially landed.
But I found it so liberating to just go with the flow and not have to worry about the materialistic things in life. It allowed me to build my confidence in a way I never thought possible; it encouraged me to try new things and just put myself out there and most importantly, it restored my faith in my fellow humans!
Losing your luggage isn’t really as awful and daunting as it seems. I just know for the next time I travel to always pack a spare change of clothes in case my bags decide to take another unexpected trip. And if all else fails, I can always rely on friendly people like Contiki travellers!
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