Weeks ago, before our fall break here at college, an amazing idea occurred to me.
We’re in college. We’re free from parents. We have five days of no class. I was thinking adventure. And so began me and my roommate’s planning for our small road trip down to Panama City Beach in Florida for the break.
It was going to be amazing. I was going to be able to Couchsurf for the first time, something I’ve wanted to do since I first turned 18. We were going to be able to relax on the beautiful beach, explore the exciting city, and go to the dance clubs Panama City is famous for by night. To say the least, I was ridiculously excited.
Well things didn’t exactly go as planned…..
Unfortunately, my worst fears came to be the day before we were supposed to drive down. I was chattering excitedly about how there was only one day left, and then she just threw the bad news at me: she had chickened out and told her parents, who had then proceeded to tell her it wasn’t a good idea. Therefore, our whole trip was a no-go.
It was a dream shattering moment for me. Well not really dream-shattering, that’s a bit overdramatic, but all of my expectations for the following days had been let down in a single moment. There was absolutely nothing dangerous about our trip, I had even told my parents. It wasn’t necessarily her fault, but for me it was a letdown. And the next day she took off for her hometown and I was left bummed out and relatively alone with most people having left campus.
No, I didn’t go to the beach, and had to stay in Tuscaloosa instead.
But that was okay. Because that weekend ended up being absolutely amazing, one that could never have been planned.
It was a weekend of random late night adventures that almost always ended up at Waffle House, whose delicious food I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. If only we had Waffle Houses in New England!
It was a weekend of new exploration, around Tuscaloosa and the campus to places I hadn’t yet been to, including the beautiful Riverwalk of the Black Warrior River, which was just off campus. Many of the places I discovered on my solo adventures around Tuscaloosa that day are now my favorite spots to go sit and relax and just think to myself.
It was a weekend of dancing. And not just the typical dancing crazily that happened at a frat party, but also multicultural dancing. I danced Gangnam style and I was taught salsa and meringue by my Colombian friends. And at this gathering which me and all my international friends had, I taught everyone how to do the Cotton-eyed Joe.
And more than anything, it was a weekend of friends. The people I met and hung out with that weekend are now some of my best friends. And I am so grateful that I had stayed in Tuscaloosa that weekend, or else I wouldn’t have these amazing people in my life now, and I wouldn’t have a certain boy in my life.
This is all even more important now, because that roommate proved herself to not be a real friend to me in the long run.
This whole experience proved to be a lesson: Things don’t always go how you expect them to, but that’s alright, because everything happens for a reason.
The more that time passes the more I see how true this really is. Everything happens for a reason. I may not have been able to go to the beach that weekend, but instead I met people who are very important in my life right now. And plus, I am positive that I will go to Panama City at some point while I am in college. I have three and a half more years after all!
This weekend also confirmed one of my other beliefs that traveling solo is the best way to go. People will let you down, whether on purpose or not meaning to at all. To make travel happen, and make it happen the way that you want it to, you have to rely on yourself.
So go with flow, do your own thing, and don’t get too bogged down by expectations because the future is never set in stone. Things may not go as you planned, but they will always go the way they’re supposed to, even if it is just another life lesson.