When it comes to wild weekends – and trust me, in all my 21 years I’ve had some pretty nutty ones – I’ll just go on the record and say my self-judgment isn’t always the greatest. Like the time I decided on a whim to travel with a friend to rural Eastern Oregon, where we became lost in the high desert and spent the night in a trailer park that was later raided by the police. Or the time I went with some buddies to Washington State University for Halloween (never again will I wear bedsheets as a costume). Oh, and there’s also the time my ex-girlfriend and I decided to try our hand at camping in the woods.
But last weekend would have been the wildest. That’s the key phrase: would have.
But alas, things didn’t quite pan out. Let me explain.
My friend Nathan and I were hanging out on a Saturday night – engaged in the fine art of making pasta carbonera without a recipe – when suddenly he had an idea: we would go to Copenhagen, Denmark for the evening to eat some real food. We’d leave right then and there. No hotel reservations. No brushing our teeth first. And not even finishing cooking our pasta.
The idea was absolutely ridiculous. Of course I said yes.
We jumped on a bus to the train station in Växjö and promptly asked a ticket salesman for two tickets on the next train to Copenhagen. I could already smell the braised lamb or whatever ridiculously fancy dish whose name I couldn’t pronounce I was going to eat.
“Sorry,” the man said, “There aren’t any more trains tonight.” I asked if there were any going anywhere nearby, like Mälmö or Lund, hoping maybe we could, if worst came to worst, take a bus or hitchhike the rest of the way. Nothing.
I was crushed. No visit to the largest city in Scandinavia. No strange evening involving shifty go-betweens, shady fellow travelers, or the emergence of potentially embarrassing photos. And no dinner costing more than I could probably afford.
So we went back to Nathan’s apartment, demoralized, dejected, and dehydrated. But we weren’t defeated.
So why’s that, you ask? How could you possibly classify such an evening – the highlight of which ultimately was a spoiled pot of pasta – as anything but an absolute failure more historic than Enron or the collapse of the 2004 New York Yankees? Simple: it’s all a matter of perspective.
Yoda may have said “Do or do not, there is not try,” but I have to disagree. Part of life, of course, is living it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Risk. Reward. You know, the stuff those self-help gurus preach about on PBS specials and in seminars at airport hotels.
While being in Sweden may be an incredible adventure in and of itself, the adventure hasn’t ended simply because I’m here. The adventure is constantly unfolding, and every day is a new chapter. And likewise, my experiences here are part of the adventure known as life.
When you reflect on your life, most people want to say they had fun and memorable experiences. And since I don’t honestly know when I’ll be in Europe again, I don’t want to look back and say “I wish I did that.” We all have only one life to live, and I want to live mine.
So yeah, I didn’t make it to Copenhagen. But the attempt was an adventure. And besides, there’s always next weekend.