Why planning a journey is the best while staying spontaneously is most important…
This is one of my favorite thoughts and practices during traveling. I am sure you will find your position within it already, you will agree to certain statements or at least it will be inspired for your next trip.
Try this: Remember one of the most naturally, authentic travel experiences you had. Have you ever found a magical place without knowing it was there? Have you ever experienced the most tasty local food? Have you ever had a good discussion with someone you met randomly? Yes! So how did you get into this? Take a moment and think back...
Let me share what comes to my mind. When I think back, I remember this very traditional Hindu ceremony in Bali where Timoti and I were allowed to participate. The host of our guesthouse invited us spontaneously to his family‘s ceremony, which takes place only once every six months - we were at the right place at the right time. We got dressed up with traditional sarongs and followed a process of personal prayers, touching blessings and a chicken offering which was very touching. Mostly because I am a fan of animals and rather see them alive than dead. The evening ended with a halarious dinner party with lots of nice talks and reflection on the proceedings.
Another memory I wanna share is when a friend and I discovered Maastricht in the Netherlands. We spent the day walking, talking through the city until it sun set. Without a map or any kind of guidebook we just walked randomly through the little streets and enjoyed the atmosphere. Then, Roman started to tell an extremely catching story which I really wanted to follow. But there were so many people around, bikes ringing us aside and scooters passing by loudly. I wished so much for a silent place without breaking the atmosphere by an ordering process in a café… And suddenly this junction appeared in front of us where we immediately chose to turn right into a lane, enlightened with little lampinions, with the cutest little houses on the one side and an ivy-covered brickwall on the other side. The best part about it was its absolute quietness. We could even find a nice place to sit. Luckily Roman could finish his story in a well-fitting surrounding. I still really like to think back and remember.
Now that I started, I cant stop telling stories where spontaneous decisions made my travel experiences unique. When I was working and travelling though Australia, I travelled more than I worked... After I set up an account and an application on gumtree.com (the country’s platform for everything, like eBay but waaay bigger) I simultaneously tried to find a job as a waitress or a bartender in Bisbane - the whole procedure didn’t work out as I desired. So I planned to travel further up north with a friend I made. But suddenly, I received an e-mail, where a farmer from the other side of the continent raised her interest of hiring me as an assistance in her landscaping business. This appeared to me totally out of the blue - I already forgot about this application… She wanted me to come within the next 3 days, because her other backpacker quit unexpectedly. Within one day I accepted the offer, booked a flight for the next day, packed my stuff and took off. Without any clue what kind of work to expect, where to live and for how long to stay I flew to Perth where I gut picked up by total strangers and started the new chapter; A chapter of doing hard landscaping work, living in a huge family on a real Aussie farm. A wonderful and deep friendship arose!
The connecting element between all the memories is that these situations always appeared when I least expected anything to happen. It might not have happened or happened differently if I would have planned beforehand or in more Detail.
It is so much fun to prepare the next journey: Where do I go? What do I want to see? Who will join? For how long do we want to travel? How to get around? What is the typical food? Which kind of accommodation can we get? And so on…
This kind of familiarizing with the destination‘s culture and traditions, do‘s and don’ts and must see‘s is such a nice way to increase the excitement level and therefore absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, I can think of some negative memories about previous holidays. These moments are usually connected to the state of expectations that arise while preparing a holiday. I gain the impression that rising expectations while planning did not match the actual experiences made during the trip.
Encounter everything with low expectations caused that everything what happens can only make the experience better. From my personal experience I can tell that staying flexible and saying YES to the unexpected and spontaneous lead to memorable experiences.