Sunday, September 30, 2012

The best-laid plans

I'm a planner, a listmaker. I've never been a big fan of spontaneity. In my experience, this is how a planned vacation goes:

Take flight. Get in rental car or public transit or shuttle; go to hotel. Check in. Get up next day and begin planned activities. See what you wanted to see and do what you wanted to do. Plans may be affected by late flights, lost luggage, lost reservations, unexpected weather, injury, or Hurricane Irene (ahem, see my attempted return from California last year), but most of the time they proceed much as expected.

And in my experience, this is how a spontaneous vacation goes:

Jump in car. When hungry, start looking for restaurants. No restaurants. Drive farther. At point when you are ready to chew the plastic off the dashboard, find horrible roadside restaurant with sticky tables and suspicious meat sauce. Get back in car. Realize you forgot umbrella and/or sunblock, but are too far from home to go back now. When tired, start looking for hotels. No hotels with vacancies. Drive farther. Contact lenses start drying on eyeballs. Highway hypnosis begins. At 11:30 PM, stumble into dark parking lot praying for a room, any room, even one near the elevator whose ping you will have to listen to all night. Etc. ...

I know there are exceptions. I've had some wonderful experiences from spur-of-the-moment getaways. But mostly, planning works out better for me.

Sometimes, though, you plan a weekend, and Unexpected Life Incidents interfere. You cling bravely to the plan, but at some point you give up and just take the cat out onto the porch and stare at the foliage for twenty minutes. And by "you," I mean me.

Plans are meant to make our lives easier, not strangle us with our own expectations. So sometimes, it's best to drop the plan.

Here, have a pretty autumn picture, courtesy of Iceland Eyes.


  1. I derive a huge amount of joy planning. The time I spent planning our trip to Europe a couple years ago was almost as fun as the three weeks we spent there. ^_^