The beauty of a flexible itinerary is simply that. You can adapt to changes and minimise the stress, hopefully. My plan was to head to Manchester after Cambridge. However, my mind went into limbo as my accommodation cancelled due to work reasons the night before I was about to head there.
I’d already bought the coach tickets but I still tried to measure whether it’d be more economical to just cancel out Manchester completely and stay in Cambridge longer where I had accommodation, or just take the coach ride and see how it pans out. I’m glad I chose the latter as everything has been golden. The generous couchsurfers of this city came through and despite being a Liverpool supporter, and receiving enough banter for a stadium full of people, I felt very welcomed in Manchester.
Within 24 hours of asking for a last minute couch to stay at, three people contacted me and I chose the first person. Originally from Hungary, he moved to Manchester just over a year ago where he works in the city centre, lives fives minutes away from work, and enjoys travel as much as I do.
I also met up with one of the other people who contacted me offering their place and much of the banter came from him and his brother being Salford-born lads. They dropped facts, statistics and continually wore Manchester United uniform to convince me to defect teams but I’m not easily swayed. During our conversations, I was asked “Why do I want to see Manchester?”
Good question I thought. To be honest, it’s been more for the experience, and the people. I knew that the culture was different up here as compared to London and the accent was certainly more so. And that’s what travel encompasses. It’s about being in different situations, testing yourself to see how you react, appreciating the humour and playing along with it. It’s not compromise, it’s adaptability.
What you learn from one another opens up your thinking and what you previously perceived to be one thing, may be the polar opposite. Pre-judgment will never amount to the experience itself.