|A very quiet Rennes 2 Campus|
I've done a reasonable amount of travelling, most of it on my own. I'm only now starting to do some travel with others & enjoying it. As I've mentioned before, I think travel is incredibly important & I think travel on your own can be invaluable. I personally learned a lot & a lot of that is because I wasn't fully prepared. I had a lot of growing up to do when I first went travelling.
I'm going to take a bit risk here - the risk that you may think I'm a bit of an idiot for some of these mistakes I made while abroad. That's a risk I'm currently willing to take though. For one, they happened long enough ago that they're now funny & for another, I learned a lot from each of them.
As I'm a fairly long-winded storyteller, I'll be splitting these stories up. I don't want to overwhelm you too much with all of my silly stories. Here goes with the first...
|The view from my residence|
I really thought I was prepared. I'd read about Rennes a million times & I'd looked at maps of the area near the University where I'd be living. I didn't print any maps though & smart phones weren't exactly commonplace. Was Google Maps even an app yet? I'm not sure that it was.
Anyway, I missed the 9am train to Rennes by a few minutes when I arrived in Paris so I had a few hours to kill at the airport before the next train. I found some food & wandered the airport before settling in to wait for my train. I was too excited to sleep so by the time I arrived in Rennes, I'd been up for well over 24 hours.
|Place St Anne|
I started wandering, figuring I'd run into my residence eventually. I probably wandered for forty-five minutes, lugging close to fifty pounds worth of luggage, before I swallowed my pride & decided to ask for help. I fluently speak French so this shouldn't have been an issue, but I probably didn't ask very clearly for what I was looking for so the only response I got was that there was a pay phone down the street. Little good that would do me since I didn't have the proper card to activate a French pay phone.
I let myself feel wallow for a few minutes before picking myself up. It was time to find somewhere to sleep that night. I headed back into the centre & found a hotel, leaving the search for my residence for the following day, when I'd be clearer headed & fifty pounds lighter.
When I returned to Villejean the next day, I got off the metro & immediately, clearly, saw the residence building. It was literally right in front of me, plain as day.
So what is the point of this ridiculous, long-winded story? Was I just a foolish, young kid? Probably. In fact, I was most definitely young & often, quite foolish too. But there are three things I've taken away from that day (three main things, at least).
|Rue St Michel, Rennes - all bars|
Next, anytime you panic, you inevitably make the situation much worse than it needs to be. There's no point in panicking about something you can't do anything about. So try not to (I realize that can be nearly impossible sometimes. It's something I'm still working on too).
Lastly, you're going to get lost. Embrace it. Yeah, getting lost while you've got all your luggage with you isn't great, but it's bound to happen. Get a little bit comfortable with being uncomfortable. Getting lost has become something I actually enjoy about travel. Perhaps not while I've got all my luggage with me, but one of my personal favourite things to do now is just wander. Funnily enough, that's actually the meaning behind the name of this blog - Au fil de mes balades, which roughly translates to while I wander.