Planning to Not Plan

With today being my last day at work, and Tigger’s last day at school, and our journey being just under 5 days away, I’m getting a LOT of questions about planning. It’s so funny how many times I’ve said this trip is indefinite, and I still get “So you’ll be gone about a year?” Perhaps they’re just having too hard of a time wrapping their brain around an indefinite trip.  After all, we’re in America where any vacation that is longer than 2 weeks is pretty unusual. The other common question is “How is the planning going?” Planning? What is that?

Usually when I take a typical trip I do SOME planning. I mean, I know what dates I’ll be where, know where I’ll be staying, and have at least some idea of places I want to see and activities of interest. Pretty natural when you have only about 2 weeks in a place.  But how do you plan for an indefinite trip? I’m sure it’s doable, but it isn’t part of my plan.

This trip is about doing the unusual. How much more unusual can an indefinite trip with a young child be? Well, unusual for me at least. This trip is about experiences. Usually when I travel it’s to visit places. In June I went to Peru to visit Machu Picchu. Since I was going to be there anyway, I managed to work in visiting other great places. This time the plan is to absorb. Sure, I’ll visit places, but this is more about the experience of living in other countries, savoring the cultures, learning, doing good, and being completely open. Kind of difficult to plan life. And massively boring.  Part of my desire is also to stretch myself is more than just simple ways.

It has definitely been weird when people ask “Where are you going after Mexico?” because, frankly, I don’t know yet. Belize would be a logical move, but I’m not sold yet. So the other option would be Guatemala. “How long will you stay there?” I have no clue. I smile as I say it because it’s so unusual for me, and I think that makes this even more fun.

So what about guidebooks? I am not going to schlep 100 books with me. Thankfully there are great online resources. As we’re preparing to move to the next country, I can get some research down, see what areas might be interesting, what places we want to visit, cool activities, etc., but I’m going to avoid the whole planning trap. Between that and adjusting to not being busy all day long with scheduled events…this is going to be an adventure for sure! And, after all, that’s the whole point.

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19 Comments

  1. Love it. Indefinite really is something that boggles most of the minds. I think you hit the nail on the head with anything longer than 2 weeks confuses people.

    Having drank with a lot of tourists from Europe and Australia, when they go on holiday, sometimes they go for 3-4 months, its just crazy.

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    • It even got the attention of the border guy. Lol

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  2. Couldn’t agree more. The whole point of creating this lifestyle is so you don’t have to plan. Just go! Explore. All the best to you guys!

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  3. I love your view on this because I have learned its so much easier to not plan than it is to plan. I am so happy for you… you are about to hit the road with your son (that is fucking awesome).

    I hope we can meet up in Mexico that would be so awesome!!!

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    • That would be so friggin awesome to meet up! And I totally agree about not
      planning to be the best and least stressful way.

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  4. This is the kind of thinking I am trying to get in to. All I know is my indefinite plan starts somewhere around October/November time and the rest is just me shrugging my shoulders as if to say: “Dunno, we’ll see what happens.”

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    • That is really part of the fun. And surprisingly less stressful. Serious
      freedom!

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  5. You have so much freedom when you don’t plan – lots of people were confused that I only bought a one way ticket, but if I’d bought a RTW flight, I wouldn’t have been able to chop and change my plans the way I did. I flew to Egypt at the last minute, spent Christmas in the UK instead of India…planning not to plan is a great idea, especially when you’re going to travel for so long 🙂

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    • That’s exactly why I didn’t go the RTW ticket route.

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  6. I have been traveling the world for nearly 20 years – ok some work stops in between. Being German I met my American husband 7 years ago in Spain and now try to settle in Virginia USA. I do not regret a minute and whilst I didnt pile financial wealth. My bag is full with the treasures of the road.

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    • Those are the best treasures in my book!

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  7. Indeed. I call it “Drift Traveling” ‘cuz it’s all about drifting along where the winds may take you. As for me and my “planned” exodus to move to Southeast Asia by year’s end, I’m doing tons of “prep” right now (i.e. to get all my legal ducks in a row come what may, selling most everything, setting up a vagrant snail mail service, etc. But as far as what/where I’ll be a year from now… Ah, that’s all still in delicious flux!

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    • Love your description of it! Which mail service are you using btw?

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    • Love your description of it! Which mail service are you using btw?

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  8. It is very unusual not doing a whole lot of planning – we’re going through the same thing at the moment! We know roughly what we want to do and the route we want to take, but you gotta be totally flexible right?

    Good luck with the adventures, can’t believe the departure date is nearly here! 🙂

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    • Flexibility is absolutely key as far as I’m concerned. There are many experiences I would’ve missed out on during my travels if I hadn’t been flexibility and created space for spontaneity.

      I can’t believe it either! Today is my last day of work. Feels so surreal.

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    • Flexibility is absolutely key as far as I’m concerned. There are many experiences I would’ve missed out on during my travels if I hadn’t been flexibility and created space for spontaneity.

      I can’t believe it either! Today is my last day of work. Feels so surreal.

      Post a Reply
  9. i cant wait for you to start!!!

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  1. Travel Tuesday: Weekly Favorites for 3 May 2011 : Gobbledy Goon - [...] 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure: Planning to Not PlanInteresting discussion of extended travel and not planning every…
  2. Travel Tuesday: Weekly Favorites for 3 May 2011 - [...] 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure: Planning to Not PlanInteresting discussion of extended travel and not planning every…

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