Each time Dr. Smalley gave us free time in a city, me and my friends seemed to get lost. However, in Rome, I got lost all on my own. 

It was our first full day in Rome and Dr. Smalley let us have some free time in the afternoon to explore the city on our own or go with our tour guide to the Vatican. I had already visited the Vatican the previous day, so I decided to walk to the Colosseum and go shopping. We had been given a bus card that allowed us to hop on and off the buses around the city. I boarded a bus and got off at the nearest Zara (of course). I did a little damage to my bank account. Then, I hopped on another bus and headed back to the hotel. Everything was going smoothly until the ticket “police” got on my bus and started checking everyone’s tickets. This happens every once in a while in order to make sure everyone paid for a ticket. I looked in my bag to grab mine, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had lost my ticket….

If the ticketers found out I would have gotten fined, so I panicked and ran off the bus. Unfortunately, the stop I got off at was an hour walk from the hotel and in the SKETCHIEST part of Rome. So, instead of panicking, I started walking back to the hotel and pretended I knew what I was doing. Halfway through the walk, carrying 20 pounds of clothes, and extremely exhausted, I found the cutest cafe. So, I did the only thing I knew to do: stop and eat. 

I ended up making it safely back to the hotel with plenty of time to spare and relatively unscathed. Even though I was scared at times I genuinely had a pretty good time wandering the streets alone. Rome is a beautiful city with even more amazing food. 

It was moments like these that I realized how much Europe and this trip has truly changed me. It not only gave me so much more confidence in myself and my abilities but showed me that situations are never as bad as they seem. My advice to anyone going abroad is to allow yourself to get lost.


Bus Lines and Stops at the Colosseum