When I was single, I rarely made travel plans. One of my favorite things was showing up at a train station in Paris and either taking the next departing train to a nearby town or asking the ticket agent where they would go for a day trip. I explored some beautiful places that way! There was something so liberating about showing up without a guide book and just wandering for a day. Sometimes this plan didn’t work out so well. I’ve spent nights in rural train stations and porches of abandoned houses, unable to make it back to my destination for lack of planning. But, overall, I loved the freedom and adventure that went without having a plan.
Looking back, I’m a bit surprised at this travel tendency. I’m actually an organized person who loves having a map of my goals and dreams. Perhaps by not planning a travel itinerary, it was a safe way to dabble in the exotic world of living life in the moment.
In January, a friend asked what my hopes for this year were. How was I going to see things differently? Honestly, I had no plan. Having a toddler, expecting another one, settling into a new house. These all seemed like such boring, midlife accomplishments that didn’t really evoke ideas of excitement or seeing the world differently. I felt that I was falling into a bit of the cliched two-kids-and-a-dog-in-the-suburbs life. Her question made me want to jump on a train without a guidebook, to just end up somewhere new.
I’m realizing that there’s a balance between using a map and living in the moment. Yes, my life feels very planned right now. But, I’m learning to see the small moments in these planned days. I’m living different kinds of adventures and my days with Bea are often just as spontaneous and unplanned as visiting an unknown destination.
What about you? Are you a planner or do you live life with spontaneity?
Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing.