Foreign travels educate columnist

Roppo visited the town of Ceský Krumlov, which is known for its picturesque castle. Photo by Meagan Roppo.

There are many ways to use the word lost: “I lost my taco,” “I got lost because I was daydreaming about a celebrity while driving” or “You lost me at hello.”

My family and I just returned from a trip to Germany, and when I say family, I mean five Germans, four Italians and one English/German piled into two vans to travel the country.

Ever felt lost in your own thoughts? Try being invaded by the thoughts of eight other people.

Of course, in my naïveté, I thought it would be a lot harder to go 14 days without Facebook, e–mail or a cell phone.

When it comes to being physically lost, whether you’re in a place you don’t recognize or you suddenly just lose your sense of direction (I’m not admitting to anything), you begin to feel alone no matter how many crazy family members are surrounding you.

When my step–sister, step–cousin and I decided that rafting alone down a river in the Czech Republic was a good idea, I was only thinking of how to paddle, and how to get the natives to stop laughing at our attempt to keep the raft straight.

We realized as we were racing toward Prague that we were supposed to disembark and return our vessel about a half a mile ago.

We knew why AAA was invented, but our lack of a phone only made us feel like a modern–day Louis and Clark. And we didn’t even have Sacagawea like those explorers did.

So we furiously paddled the raft to shore at the next stop we found and discovered we had to deal with a bigger problem –– how to get back.

We dropped the raft, life-jackets still secure and ran for it. Our only means of escape from the filthy encampment of rafters staring at us was the highway.

As we were walking down the road, in a place I was completely unfamiliar with, (I was the oldest family member but was unable to contact anybody and did not knowing a word of Czech) I somehow had enough room in my brain to ascertain one important concept: this is what it felt like before cell phones, internet and instant translators.

People who were born before all of this new technology might shake their heads and say, “she’s just being an immature brat.” But really, this is the world that I was born into –– the world of instant problem–solving.

I know nothing else, and when I was pushed into a more primitive environment, I panicked, just as I am sure many did when they were suddenly propelled into the age of technology.

Nonetheless, I kept my head and we made it out by walking back to the town.

I’m not sorry that things turned out the way they did, even if AAA might have been helpful. My adventure was a glimpse into another world.

Isn’t that what world travel is all about?