The night before I was leaving for a trip with my two friends, my mom asked “Are you packed?”
“No, I’ll do it later,” I said.
“When are you meeting CC and Ish?”
“I’m not sure,” I said. I knew we were leaving on Tuesday – we had talked about that when we made motel reservations about six weeks before. But we hadn’t discussed the trip since.
Mom shook her head. “Your dad would have a heart attack,” she said.
She’s right. In spite of Dad’s insistence on planning every detail of a trip weeks in advance, or maybe because of it, I prefer to leave things hanging as much as possible and just see what happens.
I learned my lesson when I went to Kauai for 8 days. I got the Kauai guidebook. I studied every map and memorized every attraction. I knew which restaurants were good and which weren’t – according to the book.
When I got to Kauai, I had an agenda. I was determined to stick to my plans, come hell or high water. This explains how I found myself drenched with rain, fishing in glass-slick mud that came up to my knees, trying to retrieve my flip-flops that had been sucked off my feet in the thick red goo. The guidebook said that the trail led to an unmissable scenic spot, and dammit, I was going to see the scenic spot, even if I slid on my butt all the way down the muddy trail to the ocean and then had to grip tree trunks to keep my balance on my way back up.
That trip broke me of travel planning. Now I do the minimum. When I went to Oaxaca, Mexico for 3 weeks, I didn’t read anything about it before I went there. I knew it was historic and beautiful and had an airport. That was enough for me. People started telling me about cool stuff to see even before I landed there. No guidebook necessary.
Costa Rica was the same way. My BFF CC went before me and found a place to stay. Then we bumbled our way across the country, clueless and enjoying every minute.
I like to travel anywhere. I just enjoy waking up somewhere different and going out to find out what it is all about. I try to pack well and to remember the things I need, but if I don’t, I can make do or buy what I need.
I talked to CC and Ish that night. We made a plan to meet up at 10 am. That was all the plans we needed.