Why you should stop planning, and start doing.
There’s no other feeling like that of the first spark of a vacation idea. The thought gnaws at the back of your mind occupying the moments between sanity and reality until it grows and multiplies and takes over your thoughts entirely. The possibilities are endless, the choices are infinite and the ideas are open ended. It’s like the honeymoon period for you and your trip, before you get into disagreements over flight prices or the arguments of the specifics.
Nothing’s booked, nothing’s set in stone except for the idea itself
The idea that this is happening and it doesn’t matter when or how just that it is. These moments are so blissful, stress-free, hassle free with imagination running free. The experience is enlightening, so why do we let this feeling wither away as we get bogged down by restrictions and regulations. Some say it's good to plan, it allows you to not be surprised by the unexpected; but I say, be surprised by the unexpected; spend one more day with the unexpected, let the unexpected trip you over, shake up your perspective, roll you down a hill, take all your clothes and steal your passport. I guess what I’m trying to say is embrace the unknown, don’t let the fear of it steer you into a rudimental experience locked in by a schedule and then a schedule for the schedule and then another schedule.
A holiday is meant to be freeing, not another facet of life that needs to be governed by a set of guidelines. Still struggling to see the appeal? Allow me to take you on a few insightful examples as to why travelling without a plan is the best way to see the world.
Why unplanned adventure is the best kind:
I guess it depends on the type of person you are, but when someone asks me where I’m going and my reply is “I don’t really know” it gives me butterflies in my stomach, but …the good kind. Kind of like the butterflies you get when you’re in seventh grade and your crush says “hi,” it’s thrilling and terrifying all at once. It's petrified excitement to know that your adventure can lead you anywhere. That even the idea in your head can be so far from the reality of what you’re about to experience. That every spur-of-the-moment decision can lead to great reward or great consequence. Every opportunity can be capitalised on, you just have to have the right mindset.
Okay, I get it… enough philosophical jabber into the psychological makeup behind being aroused by a road trip without a map. Let's look at some cold, hard refreshing facts served over ice:
The ‘You Can’t Trap Me’ Martini
There’s nothing worse than arriving at a destination and having only 3 days to do 8 billion things, and that’s only including the things you have already heard of. Let's not forget the 12 trillion other must see unknown checklist items that accumulate through your interactions with other travellers and locals once you arrive. You have some tough decisions to make, and no time to really enjoy them cause you ride yourself into the ground trying to squeeze too much into an unrealistic time gap.
The same goes for the alternative, you have high expectations for a destination then you arrive and find that the place just isn’t the right kind of vibe for you, and now you have three wasted days where you could’ve been exploring other landscapes. That’s why not having a plan allows you to break free of the shackles tying you down to a time frame. Your three days can be three weeks or three hours, the time frame matches your frame of mind instead of having to match your frame of mind to your estimated time frame. Embrace your inner active-lust and Michael Schofield's your way out of that time restraint prison.
The ‘Experience Let Me Follow You’ Margarita
Instead of moulding your experience to your plan, why not let your ‘plan’ be manipulated by your experiences. You make friends in Darwin who are road tripping to Perth, you chase a dog along the sand in Surfers Paradise that leads you to a beach house party, you win $5000 at the casino in Melbourne so why not upgrade to a suite and stay the week. Travelling without a plan lets you travel without limitations. Without the shadow of the impending end hanging over your head, without an expiry date on your fun. No matter where you go or where you end up there is a story to be told, there’s a mystery to be solved and there’s an adventure to be had. Stop looking at travel through an old school train of thought. Instead of choosing the place then finding an experience, why not chase the experience and see what place it leads you to.
The Bloody 'I'm trying but 'no plan' gives me anxiety' Mary
I get it, you wanna be carefree and let the fun times flow, but heading across the country or overseas with no plan at all gives you the sweats in places people don't want to even know. So if you're trying to test the waters but not ready to jump headfirst into the scary ocean of the world with no life jacket, I have a few little tips that will help you concur that kiddy pool.
1) Book with an airline that's flexible Check the fine print and see what airlines offer you interchangeable flights, or allow you to credit your airfare to your account if you need to cancel your flight. For example, Jetstar's rules are pretty strict on their Stater Plus Bundle, but fly with their Starter Max Bundle and there is more freedom for change, cancellation or rescheduling.
2) Always book accommodation with no cancellation fees A lot of websites today even give you the option to pay on your arrival, letting you book your room with no exchange of money till you arrive. Which is perfect for if you hate the look of the hotel, or meet the love of your life in the lobby and immediately head off to Vegas to elope.
3) If your holiday must be planned and kept to a schedule at least include in that schedule a week free of obligation at the back end of your trip You can use that week to revisit that one place that you wish you had more time to explore.
Ultimately it's your trip. So manipulate your adventure to fit your comfort zone. Just next time you sit down to draw out your travel timeline, use a pencil. Distance yourself from rigid expectations and boxed in dates, and fill your page with concepts, possibilities and a whole bunch of maybes.
Considering travelling alone? Check out our blog on Nomad's here