Lost In London (Personal Narrative Final)

Here he stood in a new place with no resemblance to home. There was an obvious problem at hand, and there wasn’t anything funny about it this time. Jaden Lux, a guy who finds humor in almost any situation, was sick to his stomach. The biggest train station in London, ringing with voices of a thousand people, continued to fill with busy travelers as it reach nearly midnight.

He was lost halfway across the world and completely alone. “What a great way to start off my trip to London,” he thought as he shuffled to a nearby wall attempting to avoid the experienced travelers.

Jaden was determined before this trip that he had to visit London. Time and time again he had heard of how amazing it was. Taking the journey alone was the goal. This would be the first time ever doing something this big alone. What a learning experience it was about to become.

Now without Internet, cell service, friends, and family to guide him along the way, he was reconsidering his decision to come alone.

As the trains continued to screech and shriek underneath his feet, he stepped into a line waiting to use a ticket kiosk. Each line held thirty or more people, all of which seemed to know exactly what to do. Not looking lost was the key to survival for him. If he can pretend he knows what he needs to do, maybe the answers will come.

“Look like a local,” He thought.

It doesn’t take a situation like this to feel completely alone. It doesn’t take physically being lost and alone to feel that. These sensations are something that comes to all people at some point in their life. Ask a college student what they want to do after graduation. The majority is going to feel a little lost.

But for Jaden, this situation was all the more real. Not making a decision in some form or another would certainly mean metaphorical death on his part. The line began to shorten until the screen was staring him in the face. Oddly enough, the reflection of his face, pale and hopeless, was all he could see. A kiosk attendant strode over to him and asked if assistance was needed.

He quickly replied, “Yes, I need help please.”

He was directed to an information desk that was able to find the correct train tickets to buy. Then after some hesitation in finding the correct platform, Jaden was aboard a train bound for Queen’s Road Peckham station.

Many students who study abroad have experienced similar circumstances. While studying abroad, many of the students involved in the Morningside In Italy program found themselves in situations that are similar to this one. Jadyn Mohr, one of the students on the trip, recalled a time when she went through something similar.

“I felt pretty lost when I traveled to Greece. We were supposed to have a flight from Rome to Athens to San Torini. With the wind conditions, our flight was canceled and we were forced to find a new route along with a place to stay. I felt extremely lost but in the end once we figured everything out it turned out as a wonderful trip,” Mohr said.

After the train arrived at the stop, the feeling of being lost sank back in. The archaic streets around the location snaked in multiple directions. Each street was packed with old brick houses that seemed to have been built centuries ago. Only a few street lamps, one here and there, decorated the streets providing little illumination.

The first train station was starting to seem friendlier than the dark paths before him.

The address that he had would lead him to the host home that was giving him a room to stay while in London. Finding the correct street was the issue. After a little hesitation, he found the street that would connect to the final destination. He took a deep breath, looked behind his shoulder, and took a powerful stride into the darkness.

Being lost in a new place brings on a wealth of new challenges. Mohr found her most difficult experience in Amsterdam because of the different signs that they had.

“I got lost numerous times while abroad, but one of my favorites was while in Amsterdam. Most street signs weren’t easily visible and when they were it was impossible to understand. While on a tram I actually tired to exit through the entrance and got yelled at and was forced to ride the tram to the next stop and got off there and had to find my way back to the original stop I wanted,” Mohr recalled.

The street continued to wind back and forth with no real direction. While Jaden was originally headed in one direction, changed into another direction after two blocks. A couple walked quietly on the street in front of him, and as he approached them they nervously looked back to make sure he meant no harm. With their thick British accents clucking back and forth, it became clear that he wasn’t the only one who was scared to walk this street at night.

“According to these directions, I have only a few more blocks,” Jaden thought to himself as he quickly advanced. The numbered streets were getting closer to the desired street number.

Jaden arrived at the cul-de-sac where the host family lived. To his surprise the homes were actually a block of apartments. The next step turned into finding the correct house number to buzz so he would be allowed into the entryway. Nervously checking his paper a third and fourth time, he buzzed house number 657 and waited for a response.

Silence… more silence that seemed like an eternity.

Then finally, “Hello?” answered the intercom with a delightful accent.

“This is Jaden from Airbnb, I’m here to stay in your home for a few days?” he answered as if almost questioning whether he should really be there.

“Of course, come in!” The entryway was filled with a dim light and a bright buzz as the door unlocked for his entry.

Jaden was safe at last, and more than ready for bed. He was welcomed into the home by man a little older than himself just about to eat. The room that was prepared for him seemed like the most inviting room of his entire life.

The feeling of safety is something that is cherished in a time of crisis. For Mohr, this feeling came when she experienced the most liberating event on the trip. The group she was with finally arrived in San Torini and found a hiking trail.

“It was long and a lot harder than I expected, but it was one of the most rewarding and gorgeous experiences I’ve ever had. It was worth all the sweat and sketchy trails and I’m so happy I did it,” Mohr said with a smile.

While Jaden wasn’t fond of the emotions that he had while being lost in London, he found the experience to be illuminating. He just took on the world, by himself, and didn’t have to call anyone he knew to solve the problem. This event could have turned into an ugly one, but it didn’t. Jaden fell to the ground and then rose again stronger than he was before.

Is this not what every petrifying experience in life is? Something that pushes a person beyond the point of comfort, to a place that makes them decide to crumble under the pressure, or push back and become stronger. Jaden may not have traveled the entire world, but he became a successful world traveler that night. Fighting the elements alone in a world that many times can be unforgiving. This is surly something Mr. Lux can carry on throughout his adult life relying on the skills learned whenever a situation like this arises again.