Studying abroad in Ireland was something that I looked forward to for months. Yet, I never imagined that I would find myself lost in a foreign country.
It was an hour and a half before the second day of class abroad started. The day before, I had walked with everyone else to class.
I made the mistake of sleeping later than my roommates since I stayed up late talking to my mom. Now without any guide, I walked toward Griffith college with a vague idea of where it was and how to get there.
It’s a straight shot, I thought to myself. I’ll be fine. If I get lost, my phone will show me where to go. What’s the worst that could happen?
I walked straight towards the school. It was all good and I knew where I was going until absolutely none of my surroundings looked familiar anymore. Instead of walking past the antique shops and one of the grocery stores and St. Patrick’s cathedral, I found myself in Temple Bar for some reason.
Temple Bar is a bit of an overwhelming place, full of tourists and “authentic Irish” restaurants. It was also kind of far away from where I was supposed to be going.
Many Dubliners suggest avoiding it altogether. I saw so many coffee shops and cafes that morning. It felt torturous to not get coffee like I planned on, but I had to get to class on time.
My backpack was much heavier than it should’ve been, and my purse was slung around my neck, nearly choking me. I hung onto the purse for dear life, worried about being pickpocketed.
I clutched my phone as well, frantically looking back and forth from my screen to the real world. At this point, I knew I was really, really lost. My phone didn’t have service or a taxi app. I didn’t contact classmates because I thought I would make it to class on time and I didn’t want to be that person who got lost on the second day because they were too stubborn to leave with the group.
There weren’t any taxis and I couldn’t use one because I didn’t have euros anyways.
I noticed that there were 15 minutes left before class was supposed to begin, meaning that I had been meandering through the streets of Dublin for an entire hour.
I wanted to sit down and sob and forget about going to class and get that latte and maybe figure out a way to go home but I couldn’t do that. I made it to Ireland (which I never dreamt of doing) and I needed to experience all of it — even the part where I was completely lost.
Eventually, I retraced my steps and found my way to the classroom using my phone. The day wasn’t completely ruined as I actually made it to class, arriving 30 minutes late.
I felt embarrassed since I’m usually the one who’s 20 minutes early. The upside is that by getting lost I was able to navigate through the city fairly well, using the River Liffey, Dublinia and St. Patrick’s cathedral as reference points to get back to the apartment I was staying in.
By the end of the trip, it became fairly easy to navigate through the city and random strangers were asking me for directions.
Looking back on this, I realize that I relied on technology much more than I should’ve. If I could redo this situation, I would’ve depended more on the people around me.
It’s hard to think about all of the friendships and memories that could’ve been made during that trip if I wasn’t so obsessed with going everywhere by myself and taking super awesome pictures of everything. There are some things that an iPhone cannot help with.