Since we were young we were taught to make the most of our time because “life is short” and “you only live once”. So when the time came for my friends and I to plan a vacation to Italy last summer we made sure we had everything covered: train schedules, hotel check-in/check-out times, duration of travel from one city to the other, every minute of every day was accounted for.We planned to spend our second day in a group of 5 villages known as the Cinque Terre. After waking up late in Florence, barely making the train, and stopping to take photos at Pisa along the way, we finally made it to Riomaggiore which was the first of the 5 villages. But we were behind schedule. Disappointed yet relieved to finally be there, we decided to stay in Riomaggiore for what was left of the day seeing as though it was late and we did not have time to see the other villages. Having walked around the village, gone for a swim and had a delicious Italian dinner it was time to head back to Florence.
We had missed the train we originally planned to take back but the tickets we had were valid for 24 hours so we waited for another. At last, another train arrived and we were on our way back to Florence when suddenly the train stopped at a random station and all the passengers were told to get out. At this point in time we weren’t panicking because it wasn’t unusual to switch trains before arriving at the final destination. It was only until we checked the train schedule board and realized there were no more trains going back to Florence that night did it dawn on me how much time and effort had gone to waste planning this day since nothing went according to plan and we were now stuck in a strange town in a foreign country with barely any money, no spare clothes, and low battery on our phones. But then I asked myself, did it matter? You guessed it, the answer was no. What mattered was the genuine laughter that erupted the moment we looked at each other and realized what bad luck we had. Yes, we did not get to see all the villages of Cinque Terre. Yes, we should have checked when the last train was. And yes, we should have packed for emergencies. But were happy, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve retold this story. Believe me when I say the highlight of the entire trip was not Milan, Venice, or Florence, but in that random hotel in a random town between Cinque Terre and Florence.Being the organizational freak that I am, I learnt that sometimes it’s okay if things don’t go according to plan. It is those times when time itself seems irrelevant that you truly begin to appreciate life. Was it all that bad that we had missed the last train? I was in Italy with my best friends! Let the good times roll xx