People of the World is a chance for you to share your stories of traveling, the people you meet and the lessons you learn. It is published every Wednesday. To submit your story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Sarah, USA
A and I were en route to Varanasi from Udaipur after completing a three-month study abroad program in southern India. Just beginning to get over some of the worst food poisoning we’d ever experienced (I’ll spare you the details :P), A and I were so excited for the sleeping bunks of the train we’d cross the country in that neither of us thought to set an alarm for the next morning. After what felt like two seconds of sleep, I woke up with a start after I drowsily looking at my watch and realizing that it was 11:14am and we were pulling into the station we were meant to switch trains at. I yelled for A to wake up and we began packing our oversized backpacks like madwomen. Meanwhile the train had come to a stop and was starting back up again. We were gathering speed. A and I rushed to the train doors and she asked what we should do. So I said what any other mature 19 y/o would say…
I regretted that decision the moment I saw A hit the platform and start rolling. Obviously I couldn’t leave her alone in some unknown train station in the middle of who knows where, so I jumped too. I hit the ground just meters before the end of the platform, and with such force that I immediately passed out. I awoke a minute or so later to a group of men surrounding us, wondering wtf those crazy tourists were doing. Somehow I found the energy to get up and walk towards A. She was worse off than I was. Her glasses were broken and arms and face scratched up. It didn’t exactly help that as I stood up, I got my first proper look at the station name. And it wasn’t the one that we had to switch trains at… we had, in fact, „disembarked“ one station to early!
The twenty or so hours that followed were a mess of compounded delays and incorrect bookings, a 7-hour stay at the sketchiest hotel I’ve ever stay in, and an overnight train ride wedged between live chickens, bags of rice, and concerned locals who couldn’t believe their eyes. I still have the scars from that day but also memories that I will never forget.
Also, amazingly A and I are still good friends 😉