On Things Going Wrong
In transit from Naples to Positano, my friend and I encountered delays, closures and accidents that prolonged our journey by several hours.
Despite this, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
The plan was to go from Naples to Sorrento via train, followed by a scenic bus route along the Amalfi coast to end in Positano, our final destination.
We left the train station in Naples at noon and quickly found ourselves met with our first setback. The train wouldn’t directly reach Sorrento due to a fault on the line downstream. Instead, we had to get out halfway at Castellammare di Stabia and take a rail replacement bus to complete the journey, which we did after a quick coffee by the seaside.
On the rail replacement bus, the driver accidentally hit another bus whilst attempting to pull up at a stop, forcing us all to abandon the vehicle whilst he settled the issue.
We then hopped onto the nearest train station, hoping to complete the journey, which thankfully was just past the line closure and could get us to Sorrento. Even then, we waited for hours on the tracks before departure.
Arriving at Sorrento, we had to wait almost an hour before the final bus would set off to Positano. So, we walked through the small town to make the most of the time we had in this temporary land, gazing into the lemon orchards and staring out into the sea (see cover photo).
By the time our final bus departed, the sun was setting and, on arrival to Positano, it was evening time, several hours after our host was expecting us to arrive.
A few days prior, she had recommended we pay €150 to get a taxi for the entire journey, which she insisted would be less hassle (but I politely declined).
If getting from A to B was the sole objective, perhaps she was right.
But if we listened, we may not have seen Mount Vesuvius from the window seats of the circumvesuviana train, nor the miles and miles of orange and lemon trees neatly lining the region of Castellamare.
I wouldn’t have heard the Italian highschoolers teasing each other on the train, their native tongue unknown to me, yet a reminder of a shared common experience.
I wouldn’t have stepped foot in several small towns that otherwise may have never seen me, greeting me through chance and circumstance.
We want things to go right, but they won’t always be that way.
So how do we prepare for dealing with that reality?
How do we continue and embrace it? Remain undisturbed by it?
Just as a video game builds depth and connection through its side-missions, our lives are enriched by the spontaneous, the accidents and the surprises.
If everything went according to plan, our lives would simply be a script unfolding. How boring.
It’s not always easy to deal with these moments of undesirable change, but we can practice reframing our situations to make them less disturbing of our peace.
I try to think of it as an adventure. A story waiting to unfold. An experience in the making.
It gives us something to talk about.
Something to remember.
Something to laugh about once it's all over.
An opportunity to bounce back.
To better ourselves.
So I’m glad the train line had issues, the bus driver stopped early and for all the waiting in between.
That’s what made the trip more than just the itinerary.
Getting lost and delayed was never the plan, but it was considered.
And now, it’s cherished.