For those regular travellers out there, I’m sure you’ve felt lost in translation already. Either because you don’t understand the language, or because the culture is so different from yours that suddenly you don’t even know how to behave. For me it means just feeling lost away from your comfort zone which is your home country.
A few stories from my side:
#1 – I miss the train because I didn’t understood German
Yap, I still laugh every time I remember it. But on my first trip to germany ever, I managed to reach the train station and asked which platform my train was getting out from. Once I’ve reached the platform, I knew that my train was supposed to depart at 10h28. The announcement on the board had something like:
I saw a train stopping but I didn’t got in because I though my train was the 2nd one (10h28). As soon as the train left I started laughing because I’ve realised how silly I’ve been! But then again, they don’t make it any easy for non locals! Whereas in UK, for each train they’ll always announce all the stops, in Germany they just announce the next ones or the major stops. So many times you’re not even sure if you’re getting the right train. Really confusing system! And as I’ve learnt, it’s not always on time.
#2 – Feeling sick in a foreign country (Germany story as well)
I had a few ones like this. The first time was on my 2nd or 3rd week working in Germany. Because I was not used to the cold, I got a strong cold and remember feeling so sick in the hotel that I felt absolutely lost. Even if I wanted to go to hospital I wouldn’t even know how to explain myself. I didn’t know who to call, what to say or what to do. I managed to improve enough to get back to UK and then go to the doctor.
Also on the same note, once I’ve reached the office without earing from one side, as I was flying with a cold (for those of you that travel regularly, you know how painful it is to fly with a cold or being clogged in general!). So suddenly I could barely ear a thing. Went to the doctor available in the office, but I guess he couldn’t really express himself in English and to be fair, some of the words I didn’t know either. We managed to communicate with a translator in the middle 😐
I guess lesson learnt is get to know basic medical vocabulary in the country your travelling to, even if it’s just written on a notebook in case you don’t have internet connection and yes avoid flying with colds, nowadays if I get a cold I get an infection on my ears… almost every single time!
To be fair, I don’t really travel outside Europe so I don’t have that many stories to share, except to say you feel powerless when you don’t know the language, the culture or the place itself. But as you get more experience travelling you’ll feel more used to it and learn different ways on how to react if something unexpected happens, like, if you lose your passport (but that’s a different story).
Any story on the topic you would like to share?