Last Thursday after my last class concluded, an introduction to supply chain and logistics in case you are curious, I hopped on the Harlaxton shuttle to the train station.
Now, I want to start by saying my first travel weekend I decided to do a solo adventure to Edinburgh, Scotland, by train. For a person who has limited experience with public transport, I am not afraid to admit I felt EXTREMELY nervous and doubted whether or not I would get to Scotland by the estimated 8:00 pm time on my train e-ticket. I questioned whether or not I should go to Edinburgh, Scotland, by myself when the majority of other Harlaxton students were heading to London. For a first weekend abroad, should I venture to a new country and city by myself? Do I have enough know-how to get from point A to point B?
If you know me personally, an adjective you may use to describe me is independent. I frequently choose “the road less traveled by” in the words of Robert Frost. By selecting the path others elect not to take or forging a completely new path, my life has immensely benefited whether through personal growth, friendships, or opportunities. With this mentality and self-reflection, I felt at peace with my decision to travel alone to Edinburgh as I entered my credit card number to reserve my train tickets and hostel on Sunday evening.
When I went to bed Wednesday evening, I tossed and turned all night long. All I could think about was the fact I had less than 10 minutes to switch trains by myself and had never done such a thing by myself. Throughout Thursday morning, I felt extremely anxious. I took the Harlaxton shuttle town after breakfast hoping I would be able to get my phone switched over to a UK SIM card. This proved to be an unsuccessful endeavor. On the way back to the manor, I chatted with the shuttle driver. I told him this afternoon I would be traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland, alone and about switching trains with less than 10 minutes to spare. He assured me the limited switch time was doable. With the driver’s reassurance, my nerves mellowed out.
I managed to find my platform easily at the Grantham train station and boarded my first train without any issues. As the train continued to stop and passengers exited and boarded, I continued to look at my phone to monitor how close the train was to York.
Eventually, the train arrived at York train station. I exited the train quickly and went to look at the departures/arrivals board. I could not find a train with my departure time to Edinburgh. As the minutes ticked by, I started to panic. The intercom clicked on and the voice announced my train departing from a nearby platform. I SPRINTED to the platform where the train was parked and leaped on as the door to the train started to close.
Friends, it is memories like these that make adventures, well, adventurous. My backpack happened to get wedged in the doors when I boarded the train. Let me say that again. MY BACKPACK GOT WEDGED IN THE TRAIN DOORS AND WAS HANGING OUTSIDE! I found myself facing a woman whose job happened to be collecting the rubbish on the train. She reprimanded me for jumping on the train as the doors were closing. The woman eventually hit the button to the train doors and I was able to get in (thankfully.) As the door opened, a man on the platform asked me if I was okay. I believe the stranger had been trying to push my bag through the door. With wide-eyes, I replied ‘yes.’ After this mishap, I really questioned if I should be traveling alone.
As my heart rate returned to normal, I went in search of my assigned seat only to find it occupied. Looking back on this moment, I am wondering if I happened to mix up the numbers in my head from the still pumping adrenaline. I found a nearby empty seat and made myself comfortable. At this time, I started to become panicked (yet again) because I thought I had boarded the wrong train. Above seats on trains in Europe, there is a little screen with the words: “reserved to (insert city).” I did not see ANY trains reserved to Edinburgh, only to Glasgow. After thinking to myself the worse case scenario being I could buy a train ticket from Glasgow back to Edinburgh, I calmed down. Eventually, I started looking at other nearby screens and found seats “reserved to Edinburgh.” *Insert massive SIGH of relief!*
Eventually, my train arrived at Waverly Train Station in Edinburgh. I disembarked and navigated my way to my hostel. If anyone happened to be out and about and looking at me, I am sure they probably thought I looked crazy. My face beaming with wonder, intrigue, and accomplishment at arriving in a new city and country BY MYSELF.
I managed to get to my hostel with no issues in case you were wondering.
Stop back tomorrow for a recap on my first day in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Leave a positive impression,