Traveling is an invaluable learning experience. Obviously. Some lessons are more difficult than others though. The top 5 things I learned in Europe:
1. History is complicated.
2. Airports are complicated.
3. Mountains are complicated.
4. Crossing the street is complicated.
5. Bathrooms are complicated too.
Let me explain:
1. History is filled with idiots and geniuses; idiots who want to tear down things built up by geniuses. See The Roman Coliseum.
2. Airports are run by air traffic controllers who obviously experience a lot of stress and yet manage to prevent most catastrophic events and yet they work in structures managed by people who couldn’t give a rat’s Kleenex about how many times you’ve been felt-up by security staff, just hand over your lip balm or else.
3. Mountains erupt. This is complicated for a somewhat anxious guy originally from Saskatchewan. Believe me.
4. Italian pedestrians have the same status as mosquitoes: people enjoy seeing you bounce off their windshields.
5. Some bathrooms have sad-looking attendants who should sport t-shirts that say “awkward.” Some bathrooms may or may not have toilet seats. Mostly not. Pooping itself may or may not be recommended since some bathrooms have strict rules against flushing toilet paper. I won’t even begin to discuss bidets. And I will never visit a ferry bathroom again: imagine if your toilet doubled as an emergency fog-horn/trombone. (Need further explanation, let me know; I recorded it on my phone.)
Fortunately though, not everything in foreign lands is complicated. Gelato is not complicated. Whether lemon-flavoured, nutella-flavoured or coconut-flavoured, it’s just plain awesome. In fact, I think the international language just might be ice-cream. And that’s why, despite complications, travel is worth it.