I was very pleased when nothing got messed up until the midpoint of my very first cruise.
As a mild to moderate pessimist, I tend to anticipate the worst-case scenario in all circumstances – which is why I was expecting something to go terribly wrong the minute I boarded this ship. Up until yesterday, however, it was pretty smooth sailing.
Yesterday we were docked in a small port called Matarani, which we were told was close to the second largest city in Peru called Arequipa. I did a ton of research on the southern city and was looking forward to seeing the white stone buildings it’s known for, but unfortunately my research did not include mapping out the distance from Matarani. Arequipa, as it turns out, is a good 3 hour drive from the port, and with only 8 hours in the dock over half of the day would be spent getting there.
So Arequipa was a no-go and I was pretty bummed. But what did end up happening taught me a lesson in going with the flow when a travel itinerary has an unexpected, unwanted change.
Not wanting to be stuck on the ship all day, my travel companion and I decided to see what we could find closer to the port. And by that I mean we walked outside, hailed a local cab driver, and told him to take us to the nearest town – extra tip if he showed us around.
Turns out our driver was more than happy to play tour guide for the day, and after white knuckling it through mountain roads for 20 minutes we wound up in a small beach town called Mollendo. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of my favorite stops on this trip.
Mollendo is nothing fancy, just a beach destination for local travelers to visit in the warm summer months. Foreign tourists don’t know about it, but there are tons of bars, restaurants, and beachfront clubs – not to mention a long stretch of sandy shoreline, which is a pleasant reprieve from the typically rocky coast. There’s even a water park and an 18th century castle perched on a cliff overlooking the sea.
This isn’t why I loved Mollendo, though. I fell in love with the town because it reminded me to stop expecting the worst while traveling and just go with the flow. Because in the end, a day I thought was ruined turned into a moment of discovery in a brand new place that I can mark on my mental map and say “I’ve been there!”
So the next time you think your trip is ruined, think about Mollendo and all the places in the world you can discover if you just let your expectations go for a minute. And then stop complaining.