On My Own in Estonia
When I got word that my contract job was ending, my first thought was “Great! Time to go on another trip.” I knew my aunt was going on a Baltic Cruise in less than two weeks, so I booked my trip to go with her. It never crossed my mind that this trip would turn out to be my first solo adventure.
It was raining in Houston and I woke up to a text message stating “flight delayed.” It was my last day at work and all I could think about was… I can’t miss my flight! I knew I couldn’t get into Russia without a visa, which I did not have. I knew missing my outbound flight would cause a ripple effect and cause me to miss my connecting flight. I hurried through the morning, said my goodbyes, turned in my laptop, and raced to the airport.
Due to the rain, several flights were cancelled. I stood at the counter while the agent tried to find an available flight so I could make my connection in Germany to Estonia. Nothing was available. I just had to get to Estonia and take it from there.
I landed in Germany and made my way to the connecting flight to Estonia. The arrival time was delayed… again. When I finally got to Estonia, I hopped in a cab to the port. The cab driver talked and talked and talked. I told him I was in a hurry, and he assured me I would make it since the port was only a few minutes away.
I was on my own in Helsinki but I loved it. I was beginning to realize that I love freedom to explore on my own terms.
When we got to the port, he had a weird look on his face and said “The ship, it was right here this morning.”
I saw it alright. My ship was floating away out to sea, without me on it! I had missed the boat. I was in a tiny Northern European country, all alone.
By missing the ship, I was already losing money–now I had to pay for accommodation and food for three days until I caught up with the ship. I found a room in Estonia, put down my belongings and explored the old city. By this time, the shops were closed and the streets were deserted. I decided to head back to the hotel thinking it would be dark soon. No such luck. The sun didn’t go down until after 10 pm.
The next morning I wanted to make my way to Helsinki before the ship’s slated arrival two days later. I was chasing that ship all over the Baltic Sea and I did not want to miss the boat again. I took the two hour ferry, which was a cruise ship with lounges and a grocery store. I took selfies, went shopping and listened to music. I was loving this solo trip.
Sometimes the best adventures happen by mistake. I never set out to be alone on this trip, but it taught me that in spite of what happens, just pray and keep moving.
When the ferry landed in Helsinki, I got off and looked for a hotel. Except, there were no hotels. All I saw was construction. Alone again in a very foreign land. So, I found a cop. He pointed in the direction of the hotels and said “it may be a long walk”. That didn’t make me feel good at all. But, I started walking and taking pictures of my surroundings. Thank goodness for my carry-on luggage only. I continued onward, but I was lost, and not confident about the direction I was headed. I saw a beauty salon and popped in to get directions. They drew me a map and I was on my way again.
I finally got to the hotel. No vacancies! They checked their sister property and found me a room for one night. I didn’t care about the cost at this point. The hotel was another 25 minute walk away. But I made it! My aunt called me just as I was settling in.
I was on my own in Helsinki, but I loved it. I was beginning to realize that I love freedom to explore on my own terms. I had lunch, shopped, and saw things I wanted to see. I even stopped at a coffee shop that drew me in with the sounds of a great live band playing. The best part was that I didn’t have others with me whining that they did or did not want to do something. I was free and I loved it.
Then, I saw it. There was my ship! I finally made it! Sometimes the best adventures happen by mistake. I never set out to be alone on this trip, but it taught me that in spite of what happens, just pray and keep moving.