Last night I woke up to rain; big, fat drops of rain blowing sideways in through the old– and, unfortunately open– window. It was the middle of the night, the stormy sky was sullenly trudging towards dawn, and I was damp and thoroughly disoriented.
I’m truly a mess at four a.m. I sleep like a log and can’t see inches in front of me without my contacts in. I tangle the sheets around my legs as if I wished never to walk again, and should the rare occasion arise where I do somehow manage to wake up at that ungodly hour, it has always been nearly impossible for me to slip back into a restful slumber.
Even so, last night the rain was insistent. A particularly strong gust of wind rattled the window and blew a smattering of droplets across my face, and I fought off the bedsheets and lurched to my feet… only to splash down in a rapidly spreading puddle that led from the window to the corner of my bed.
Two screws from the window lock had come loose, and with the wind blowing so wildly it had forced the window open wide enough to drench my sneakers (left to dry by the window earlier that day), drown my map (placed neatly on the floor next to my bed), and disrupt a peculiar dream I was having about fighting a sea monster alongside the cast of Arrested Development (the meaning of which, I have yet to divine).
So, that being only the most recent in a series of mishaps that have made the past few days so frazzlingly fun, I would like to share a few tips for other travelers that I have appropriately dubbed: How Best to Avoid Being Rained On, in Bed, at Four A.M. (and Other Nuggets of Wisdom from the Azores.)
1. Shut the Windows
Durrr, I know, but as an individual who enjoys nothing more than falling asleep listening to the breeze rustle the trees outside, or the waves on the beach rolling just down the block, I often leave the windows wide open when I get into bed. Weather can be incredibly unpredictable, and it’s more difficult to decipher a forecast when it’s given in a different language. Shut the windows, or just be reeeeeeeally certain that you know what tempestade and chuva mean before you leave them open.
2. Let the employees know when screws are missing from your window,
or when any other small repair needs fixin’ in your room. People at hostels are super cool and it’s their job to be informed about these kinds of things. Make their job a little easier, pass on knowledge of anything amiss and then hopefully they can help you resolve this issue before you have to go and sheepishly ask the night receptionist for a mop at four in the morning.
3.Talk to your roomies or bunkmates,
even if you don’t speak the same language. Communication is universal, and absolutely critical when you find your shared room flooding in the middle of the night. It can sometimes be difficult to get to know the people who you’re sharing a room with; everyone’s schedule is different in a hostel and half the time you won’t even be in the room at the same time as your new roomies. Even just for a second, smile and say hi. It makes the mop-action team work much more rewarding.
4. Talk to other people! All of them.
People are great, and you ones you meet on the road are people with whom you are always guaranteed something in common. Travel mishaps are great story material, and as a broke, solo student adventurer, meeting people on the go is one of the best ways to find unique and cheap opportunities. The past two days alone I’ve found myself on an impromtu road trip and a volcano tour for ZERO DOLLARS, just because of nice people who like hearing stories. And I guarantee you’ll find that there’s more than enough willing ears out there.
5. Trust yourself.
Trust your feet to carry you where you need to be, your mind to make good decisions and think your way around problems; trust your instincts when trying new things or meeting new people, and trust your ability to improvise! Even the most exotic locations will increase their opportunities tenfold when you have a little trust in the road, yourself, and the people you meet. Don’t let a night of rain-soaked sleep dictate your mood– just trust yourself to make tomorrow an even better story.