Thursday, October 18, 2007

60 crowns for a new wallet

Sometimes I'm just amazed by how the world works.

In May and June of this year, I took a trip with a friend of mine - the lovely Karina who will be posting on here once in a while - to Europe. She and I flew to London, spent a few days there so she could visit some friends of hers. Then it was off to Amsterdam for a few days that I don't remember so well, and then the Czech Republic. Little side note - if you haven't been to Prague, holy crap, it's beautiful and cheap and you should go immediately! Seriously, I had one of the better meals of my life there for what amounted to about $25 for 2 people combined. Including tip! Ridiculous.

But, as is often the case, I digress. So back to the point at hand. After visiting the Czechs in all their glory, Karina was to head home and I was to continue onto Croatia for two weeks of some intimidating but exciting solo traveling.

Alas, on our last day in Prague, one of those moments you always hear about but never expect to happen to you...well one of those moments actually did happen to me. I lost my wallet. After throwing Karina's water bottle on the ground and breaking it - a point that she continues to not let me live down - I went and made all the necessary phone calls to cancel and order new cards and all that fun crap.

At this point, I was ready to give up. How was I to survive with no access to funds? Karina gave me a bunch of cash, but it definitely wasn't going to get me through another two weeks in a country where I most certainly didn't speak the language. I seriously thought about packing it in, sucking it up, and just heading home.

Perhaps I was being completely irrational, but something made me decide against that whole plan. "No!" I thought. "I must see Croatia. It's what I came for!" So on I went, not knowing how I was going to survive.

Now maybe this sounds completely cliche, but I honestly don't care - turns out losing that wallet was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Bear with me for a second here.

My plan was to fly to Dubrovnik - the Southern-most major city in Croatia - stay there for two days, and then rent a car and drive around Croatia, hitting some national parks and other major cities along the way. Well that plan was out - no driver's license, remember? Plus, I had asked AmEx and Citibank to send my cards to the hostel I was staying at in Dubrovnik, so I had to wait around for those to arrive.

Long story short - although I guess I can't avoid making this kind of long at this point - by staying for 6 days instead of 2 at this particular hostel, I met some of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know. Here's a link to the wonderful hostel I stayed at - PLEASE stay there if you ever happen to be in Dubrovnik:

These new friends I had made and I ended up renting an apartment for 3 days on the island of Hvar. Those 3 days were among the best days of my whole life. (Yes, that's me jumping off of a wall 30 feet high into the ocean - and I didn't even break my legs!!)

Taking it even further, I recently took a trip up to Montreal to visit one of those friends I had made in Croatia. On the train up there, I happened to sit next to a very cute girl. We ended up chatting for 8 hours, I got her number. Now we're dating and it's rather fantastic, I have to say.

The point is, I realized the other day that absolutely none of this would have happened had I not lost my wallet. I would have stayed in Dubrovnik for two days and then gone off, by myself, in a car to whatever national park I felt like exploring that day. I never would've met Monika, my Canadian friend who eventually prompted my trip to Montreal, and thus never would have met a girl on the train who I've become rather fond of.

So - and I hope I don't sound preachy or anything here - sometimes when something seemingly terrible and devastating happens...well, just realize that maybe there's a good reason for it after all. I think life is mischievous like that sometimes.


karina said...

Ooohh goodness...poor sweet sweet water bottle, how I miss you and all your czech-ness.

4 Kudos :)

Chris C said...

It was great to see you on that trip, even if it was at the very end and you were dead tired!

And I just visited Prague for the first time this last weekend. I totally agree, it was quite beautiful. Though I should've gotten restaurant recommendations from you - we ate cheaply but it wasn't exactly culinary heaven. ;-)

Fritzie said...

The idea of living in LA makes me want to wretch too.

Your life is awesome. Maybe if I flunk out of grad school or get mugged something awesome will happen to me too.

On that note though, Josh dropped out of law school and moved to New York and now he has the job in baseball that he always wanted...all because of what he used to call one of the worst decisions he ever made.

Life is full of possibilities!