I sat, water dripping off of my long hair and on to the ground below. I had an umbrella, but with this heavy of a downpour using one was like trying to put a bandaid on an amputated limb. When you have your head down in the rain staying positive is tough.
I was soaked through and through. But there were many who didn't mind the weather. A man right behind me kept yelling "Il Papa" with a thick Irish accent. He was having the time of his life and the rain didn't matter.
Up front, beneath a temporary, covered platform the Pope spoke to the crowd. It was Easter and my family and I were in St. Peter's Square in Rome, Italy.
Here we were at one of the most spiritual times of the year, in one of the most spiritual places in the world for Catholics and all I could think about was the cold rain dripping down the back of my neck and running down my spine.
Life never happens exactly the way you want it to, and travel is no different. Between our expectations and reality is life. This has always been a tenant of Breaking Trail, that you can never control life 100% but need to roll with the punches at times. I have had many of those times when traveling.
I've showed up at hostels only to have my reservation mysteriously lost or never put on the books and had to find alternative accommodations in the wee hours of the morning after traveling all day. I've been hassled by security when passing through public terminals, and harassed by drug addicts in a bad part of town.
When you come to experience the best of a place and find the worst how do you avid frustration? When you invest precious time and money travel hiccups are a bitter pill to swallow.
One time I fell asleep in my airport terminal and woke up a half hour after my flight was scheduled to depart. Luckily, while I was catching some z's a flight delay had occurred. This was the one time in my life I was thankful for airport delays.
When traveling, things never go the way you want them to. Travel is a constant realigning of your expectations, many of them false, with reality. But frustrations make you tough, accepting but not compliant. Accept the things you cannot change, don't accept everything.
Travel is a microcosm for life. While I sat there in the cold listening to "Il Papa" rattle off a prayer in six different languages, drenched to the bone, I knew that the obstacles we face make us the man or woman we are. I sat up just a little bit taller, and forced myself to smile, after all, this was one of those things I definitely couldn't control.