Are you a trip planner? Before you go on vacation, do you put together an itinerary (“On Wednesday, we’re going to play mini golf and have fun, dammit!”), and chart your exact course on your GPS (“At Exit 25 we’ll stop and have lunch”)?
I used to be a planner. I thought that the more organized I was for a vacation, the better it would be. I would waste hours on the web, researching every detail about where we were going. Then I’d chart out a Plan B, just in case.
This would guarantee that our precious vacation time was the best it could be, right?
Not always. If either Plan unraveled, I would blame myself, even if some mess couldn’t be avoided. Lord help us if a backpacking trip got rained out, or too many others were camped at our favorite lake. I would become the Queen of Sulking, dragging my lip on the ground and pouting all the way home. The “perfect vacation” often eluded us, because I had a hard time going with the flow.
“Stress comes from trying to fit life into the box we want it to be in, rather than accepting the way it comes. You might as well live closer to the truth.”
— from an article about meditation in Prevention Magazine
Allow for Adventure; Stop Planning!
When we first started talking about this trip in the summer of 2006, I went into planning mode. I bought books and an atlas, and got online – a lot. That Fall, we paid a visit to our friend, world traveler and motorcycle adventurer, Ted Simon. We asked him how he went about planning his own round-the-world trips.
Planning? Don’t do it. Pick an area to see, then get there, but don’t plan too much or you’ll miss out on any real adventure, he advised.
Huh? How could we do a trip like this and not even chart a course? Ted was far more experienced than we when it comes to traveling, so as much as I had a hard time believing that advice, I held onto it. Later on, Carol White, author of Live Your Road Trip Dream, gave similar advice in her book.
One year later, as you can see on our Route Maps, we haven’t gone from “Point A” to “Point B” in a straight line. Jim says it looks like a Rorschach drawing. And I’ve thrown out Plan A and Plan B. By doing this, we’ve opened ourselves up to so many unexpected adventures on this trip. I never could have dreamed that not planning would be way more fun.