Cultural Experience | Resources

Traveling: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Don’t let the “bad” and the “ugly” take away from the “good.”

Let’s be real for a minute: traveling isn’t unicorns and rainbows all the time. Among the amazing days that you’ll experience while traveling I can guarantee you that you’ll also have some days that aren’t exactly your style. Maybe you just sat on an airplane for 15 hours and the crying baby sat directly behind you or maybe you’ve had a week straight of rain and the sun refused to emerge from the clouds or maybe you missed a fun event at home and you’re having major FOMO or maybe you just don’t feel well and wish you could spend the day in your bed, the list goes on. Unfortunately, these bad experience and situations that don’t quite go our way become some of our most vivid memories when we reflect on our time abroad. They push their way past the hundreds of amazing memories to the front of our brains.

These situations are “the bad” and “the ugly” of travel.They’re unavoidable and honestly no trip is perfect.
Luckily, traveling brings a ton of good: good experiences, good life lessons, and good friends. Our job, as young student travels, is to focus on these good moments and not let the few bad, ugly moments get the best of us.

The best way to do this is to have an easy-going, “go with the flow” type attitude for every adventure you embark on. You never know what’s going to happen so this mindset will help turn all the bad and ugly into good.

Here’s an example: Besides the fact that I am extremely impatient, I would consider myself to be a pretty easy-going person. I tend to have a positive outlook on every situation. So I was in Rome for spring break visiting a few friends and we had the whole week planned out: sightseeing, wine, pizza, pasta, a day trip to Florence and a bus trip to a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside at the end of the week. Tuscany was the trip we were looking forward to most, who wouldn’t want to spend the whole day sipping wine and eating bread and cheese on an outside patio look over the Tuscan hills? Yeah, no one.

About two day before the trip, we received an email saying the trip was in danger of being cancelled due to lack of participation. Obviously we were disappointed but we decided to wait until we knew for sure before we changed our plan. At 5:00 p.m. the day before the trip we received the officially cancellation email. This was both a “bad” and an “ugly.” But we were optimistic, so we basically said “screw it,” we didn’t need a tour company just to get to a vineyard, so we weren’t gonna let this small hiccup keep us from going. So early the next morning we got ourselves to the train station and use the refund from the bus trip to buy six one-way tickets to Tuscany, with the plan to buy tickets back when we had enough wine and were ready to come home. We all got on the train feeling satisfied and proud that we maturely figured a new plan.


We probably sat on the train that morning for an hour before we realized that we haven’t left the station yet. I mean, what can I say, we were best friends that hadn’t seen each other in a few months so we had a lot to catch up on. After we came to this realization, we asked a few locals who told us that many train captains were on strike that day. Lovely. So we walked back over to the ticket counter, got our refunds (which turned out to be a hour-long, complicated activity) and left the station feeling pretty defeated. A “bad” and an “ugly” that we thought we turned back into a “good” just went right back to being a “bad” and an “ugly.” It was only 11 a.m. at this point and we weren’t gonna end this day now, we were determined to turn this back around into a “good.” We wandered around the backstreets of the city until we came across the perfect solution. We found the cutest wine bar on a rooftop looking over the Spanish Steps. We sat there all day drinking wine, eating bread and cheese and enjoying each others company. It was exactly what we wanted to do that day.

That day was definitely a “good.”

Emily Allen

University of Maryland | 9 stories

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Allen and I'm a junior communications major with a focus in public relations at the University of Maryland, College Park. As much as I love Maryland, I love getting out and exploring the world more. This job is pretty prefect for me considering I love creative writing, traveling, and taking artsy photos.

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