Getting to London was an adventure and a half.
I checked out of my hostel in Amsterdam early in the morning and took the subway back to the train station. Somehow the time disappeared from me and I was in a panic that I would miss my train. I managed to find it just in time and settled into my seat, unaware the panic of the morning would be nothing compared to what was coming next.
I was taking the train from Amsterdam to Paris, and from there I would hop on the train to London. I had a large gap between the trains and the train station I was arriving in was the same one I would be leaving from, so I wasn’t worried about this transfer at all, unlike my previous transfers. Getting to Rome had me in a panic because I would need to make my way from one train station to another to make my transfer; on my way to Amsterdam I had only a 20 minute transfer in Germany where I envisioned myself getting lost in the train station like I had in France. Both those transfers went without a hitch, and I had been worried about those! So, this transfer, I wasn’t worried about at all – surely it too would go without a hitch! WRONG!
My train out of Amsterdam got delayed in the middle of its route. There was an issue with the tracks and the train had to stop in the middle of nowhere, not even at a station. We were stuck there for about 45 minutes and no where near our destination. What should have been my easiest transfer turned into my worst nightmare. Due to the delay, I missed my train to London by ten minutes – ten minutes! Oh, the agony I was in!
As I disembarked from the train and made my way down the platform to the station, thoughts of panic were flooding through me. What if that was the last train to London today? How much is it going to cost to get a replacement ticket? Where am I going to go if I have to spend the night? How long am I going to be stuck here? This ruins everything!
Now, let me tell you, had this happened at the beginning of my trip, if this was my first experience travelling alone, I don’t think I would have been able to deal with it. I probably would have cried, given up, and gone home, that’s how big of a travel wuss I was. Something like that would have been enough fear to break me completely had it been at the start of my trip. But this wasn’t the start of my trip. No, I had been doing this on my own for a month now, and believe it or not, I was actually starting to calm down, to get the hang of it even!
So, I swallowed my nerves, held my head high, and went to the ticket counter. I explained the situation and the wonderful ticket lady told me that the last train to London would be leaving in an hour and then she printed me out a ticket for it at no charge, as it wasn’t my fault I had missed my intended train. Hurrah!
This may not seem like a big deal to some, but this was a huge feat for me. The fact that something went wrong and I didn’t collapse into a crying ball of panic was amazing, and I was immensely proud of myself for keeping a mostly level head over it all. I managed to calm myself down, and everything worked out in the end! Wonderful! I can now live in a world where travelling, even travelling alone, gives me much much less anxiety (there’s still some that pops up from time to time, but I can handle it so much better now). Happy days!
Going through the customs line was a bit of a hassle, as I didn’t have the address I was staying at written down anywhere I could easily access at the time, and the lady gave me a hard time over that, but she eventually let me through after I apologised profusely (little me, in my travel naivety, didn’t know I would need that at the train station).
The train station’s wifi was conveniently down as well, so I couldn’t let the person I was supposed to meet know that I would be a couple hours late, so that was unfortunate, but it was out of my hands so I didn’t allow it to gnaw at me.
The rest of the journey was uneventful and I made it to London in one piece, found where I was supposed to go, and congratulated myself for what a successful mess of a transfer that whole debacle was.
Besides, what else could go wrong? I was finally in England! 😉