The Art of Getting Lost

Archway to the beach of Sperlonga.

The Art of Getting Lost

    When planning a trip, there are always places, people, or landmarks you are excited to see. Leading up to my trip to Rome, I thought about the history I would discover and the landmarks I would see. I did not think there would be other hidden sites that would take my breath away.

 

           It is easy to get lost in a city you have never been before. I like to know where I’m going at all times, and if I don’t, I begin to panic. Coming into this trip and getting lost, whether it be on my own or with some of the 22 people whom I had just met, scared me. At first, I did not stray far from the immediate town I got to know. One wrong turn and you are immersed into the Italian culture; away from anyone who speaks English and away from the tourist-ridden streets. I soon realized these wrong turns led to the best parts of Italy.

 

           On Friday, nine of us spontaneously decided to leave Rome and to go to the beach. Navigating to a beach in Italy proved to be a lot different than in America. Our group took a tram ride, a bus ride, and an hour and a half train ride and finally ended up at what we thought was our destination.

 

The sunset of Sperlonga Beach, Italy
Cab driver Luigi (GiGi), who drove us from the Fondi train station to the beach of Sperlonga.

We arrived at a train station in Fondi, well more like a shack, in a town we had never heard of where there was no beach in sight. Next to no one spoke English and we were stuck trying to figure it out on our own. Through a few phone calls, multiple attempts at speaking some Italian, and one cab driver later, we ended up at the prettiest, obscure beach. Our cab driver even asked us “How did you discover Sperlonga? Not many tourists know about it,” GiGi said.

 

           Getting lost leads to the best stories. I expected to go home to my parents and rave about all of the iconic landmarks I saw and the history behind them. I expected to tell them stories of restaurants I ate at, some of the other activities I did, and all of the people I met. While I will share these stories, the first ones I am going to tell them are about the times I got lost. The time we found our way to the beach. The time we turned down the wrong road and found an authentic restaurant. The time we got on the wrong tram. The time we asked for directions and met a girl from Slovakia who was studying languages and spoke 5 fluently. And finally, the moment we realized getting lost in Italy was not so bad, it made the experience better.

 

Samantha, John, Taylor, Katie, Bryden, Matthew, Katlin, Michaela, Connor all throwing up spurs on the beach of Sperlonga.
Taylor Sharkey

Taylor Sharkey

Taylor is a senior at USC. Her major is Visual Communications.
Feature writer/Photographer