Travel planning, more or less stress?

I got into a few adventures because of minimal travel planning. It put me on the spot and I had to be creative and take some risks. During my trip, I wanted to visit certain people and places, but only a few while in all those seven months. Together with the dates of the flights, these ‘milestones’ provided the basic structure of my journey.

The essence of travel planning

When you plan, you create structure. Everyone prefers a different amount of structure in their life and while they are traveling. For me, too much structure takes the fun out of traveling. I’ve met people that had planned every day of their journey. They felt they had a limited amount of time and wanted to see many things, and that is exactly when planning would start to work against me.

For me, seeing all the touristy places is not where the fun is. I don’t want my own plans to rule my life. You would think that travel planning takes the stress out of traveling and a little bit of planning does. When you buy a bus or a van, then you know at least where you are going to sleep. However, some people added tension to their journey by planning. Several travelers admitted that it was tiring to be in a different place each night.

The cause of stress

I found out that stress is not caused by my circumstances. Yes, I could get a little stressed when I did not have a place to sleep or when the money ran out, but truly, the cause of the stress was my negative definition about the situation. I could just as much see it as an opportunity for miraculous events and a reason for true creative thinking! And when I did that, the anxiety turned into excitement. And the less predictable my journey would be, the more excited it would turn out to be and the more miraculous things would show up and work out.

For sure, I have a certain limit of uncertainty that I can handle. That was one of the reasons I relied heavily on my mobile internet connection in every country. At times, this would create stress because I would be focused on Google Maps too much – which bus stop to get out – but when I recognized that, I chose to trust more.

I can recommend anyone to experiment with dropping some securities to create some adventure. The easiest way to do that, is to plan only one tourist destination a day and one city for a few days. I would stay in a place as long as I felt like it, or when I had the sense of where I wanted to go next.

When things don’t go according to plan

On the last day In New Zealand, things went a bit different than planned. Hm, maybe I had clung to my expectations a little too much! I had to find myself again when some old feelings of disappointment came up. Transport did not work out, getting money for the bus was hard, I spilled coffee over my clothes, it was hot and humid and my heavy bags were, well, heavy.

Later that day, I was able to laugh at it, though. This is one of the nice thing about travel planning, when things don’t go according to the plan. Then will find out whether you truly can be flexible! So, it was a great opportunity to discover more about myself and that I could chose how I wanted to react to the situation.

Adventures without a plan

Adventures without a plan

I did not write any post after having been on the road for a few weeks. The novelty of the experiences wore off and my adventures started to feel ‘normal’. I guess, that is when you stop writing, when you don’t feel you have any novelty to share. Yet, my trip has been amazing the last few weeks.

From last-minute beds opening up in hostels, to meeting locals and staying with them, from connecting with the right people at the right time to doing a fun job at a horse farm, and getting a ride to the airport, all through New Zealand, it has all worked out miraculously. If you want tot read about it, I can send it to you in a private message or an e-mail.

I will explore traveling, being a tourist, planning or not planning in another post because there is much more to say about it. It comes back to an older theme: being a tourist or a traveler? A wrote about it in Dutch when I went to Budapest for a weekend, some years ago. I feel, I want to write about it again.