I was a teenager and it was my first time in Denmark. Ok, I never did anything without my mom and now I was traveling halfway across the world without her. Alright, so I was with my dad and our cousins, so it’s not like I was alone or anything. All in all, I felt pretty at home in Copenhagen. My dad’s side of the family is Danish, my name (first & last) is very Danish, I look like one of them, etc. so it was pretty easy to blend right in and pretend that I was a local. To this day it remains one of my favourite cities out there.
Long story short, I was inadvertently left behind at a train station Copenhagen. How did I handle it? Well………. I totally panicked. I was alone in a city I wasn’t familiar with, didn’t know the address of the place I was staying at, and my dad had all the money. What did I have? The cell phone. So I called my mom, who was back home in Canada – because she could totally fix everything from there, right? The minutes ran out after about 5 minutes, so, I stood there trying to hold it all together for a few seconds when some German tourists came up and asked me for some directions. That’s when I really started freaking out; crying, “I’m not the right person to ask I don’t even know where I am!” They just backed away slowly. So, instead of staying put like you’re supposed to when you probably have people looking for you, I decided to go outside and frantically run around the building and up & down the surrounding streets looking for my dad. Then I couldn’t find my way back to the train station which resulted in me panicking even more violently until I found it again, went back inside to see if anyone was there looking for me, discovered no one, and spent the next 15 minutes bawling my little eyes out in a bunch of different corners and bathroom stalls until my dad finally found me.
Basically, I did everything wrong – I did everything wrong before I even got ditched. First of all, ‘don’t panic’ is like the golden rule of 99% of travel mishaps and I broke that one quicker than you can shake a stick at. Secondly, ALWAYS know the address of where you’re staying and, in my case, the phone numbers your cousins who live there and could’ve easily came and got me had I only known their numbers and called them instead of my understandably unhelpful mother halfway across the world. Third, always have at least a little bit of money with you, on your person. Whether it’s for a pay phone/phone card, a cab fare, or even a meal. Fourth thing, stay put! Only after we got back to Canada did I find out that my dad and his cousin had come back to the train station to find me right around the time I took off down the street. Then they went out and around looking too. The whole thing could’ve been over and done with in a matter of only maybe 10 – 15 minutes. And lastly, the mistake my dad made was in assuming I was right behind him. Obviously, I wasn’t. I also shouldn’t have automatically thought that he was looking after me either. But, he’s the parent so I still say he was more responsible for loosing me then I was for getting lost. Whenever you’re travelling with someone just be aware of where they are.
Aaaand that’s the story of how I learned what not to do in the event of getting ditched, lost or accidentally left behind. I’m a lot more laid back about these types of travel mishaps nowadays and I laugh about how badly I handled the situation then, how obvious what I should’ve done really was. When you’re a young travel newbie though, it’s things like this that can completely frazzle you and seem like the end of the world
Have you ever been left behind by or gotten separated from your travelling companions/parents? Gotten completely lost? Totally panicked?