If I had to list out the momentous events in my life so far, the summer of 2019 would be on the top of that list — Grad trip suddenly halted, alone in a foreign country that speaks predominantly a foreign language, not having much cash left, almost being arrested for not having a ‘validated ticket’ when traveling in the subway.

It was by far the craziest trip I’ve had, not to mention that the hospital became my most visited destination. I’ve had a ridiculous amount of mental breakdowns more than any other graduates should have that summer.

Nonetheless, thinking back to the events I managed to get something out of it:

I’m much more independent than what I thought.

Having a parent right beside me makes me rely on them. All I have to do is throw them all my problems and they’ll solve it for me. After all, why rely on myself when I have a guardian that I can rely on?

However, as much as I wanted this to be true, growing up does mean that I have to be more independent at some point. It wasn’t until when I was stuck in a situation where I have to rely on myself I realize I’m much more capable than I thought.

The ability to accommodate

It wasn’t a part of our plan that my mom would be hospitalized. It wasn’t planned that our trip would be ruined by this event. Yet, I gradually realized that sobbing and moaning in the hotel room wouldn’t make the situation better.

What I did was to come up with a plan for the rest of the week because I didn’t want to waste the time and opportunity I had there. So I booked myself a bus ticket and traveled from Prague to a neighboring city Karlovy Vary one day.

how to travel alone for the first time the food I ate
Self-travelling wasn’t that bad. I managed to make the most out of the bad situation. I had by far the best grilled salmon and butter roasted potatoes ever in my life.

How to travel alone for the first time: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The idea seems scary at first, self-traveling in Czech alone when I don’t even speak Czech. I don’t know their transport system, I don’t know their culture, I don’t know anything.

All I know was that I got into trouble because my metro ticket wasn’t ‘validated’. They fined me for 80 Euros when I only had 10 Euros of cash and the credit card my mom left me before she was hospitalized. Chaotically, I couldn’t get money out of the credit card because I don’t have the password to the account, not even my mom remembered the password when I called to ask her.

At first, the lady officer was going to take me to the police station. Fortunately, having explained my situation she let me off with only a fine of 10 Euro that I had left.

I’ll admit, I was lucky

Still and all, this can be avoided if I had sought help. If I went to inquire about the transport system in this country better, I would know how the paying system works here.

I didn’t because I was too scared to ask, especially when I don’t speak their language.

The tiniest things can turn out to have the biggest impacts on you

Just as I didn’t anticipate that a slight cold could turn into a severe acute middle ear infection that needs immediate attention, I learned that I should never underestimate things.

Given that I really wanted to continue the trip, I admit I was giving myself misbelief that her symptoms would miraculously go away if she rested enough and took the medications that we brought from home. The two days of painkillers had also delayed her prime time of receiving the medication that she really needed.

In the end, my mom is lucky that her hearing isn’t impaired severely at the end; perhaps if she had been given proper treatments when her symptoms first appeared at the beginning, her situation wouldn’t have worsened and gotten to this stage.


Yes, my graduation trip is chaos.

However, if I was given the chance to go back in time, I would still want to go through the exact same traumatic experience.

Ultimately, it was this trip that made me reflect on myself from a whole new perspective, where I believe it better prepared me before the start of university.


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