Flying by the Seat of My Pants

… was the phrase used by my team leader a few years ago.  This was when she was living and travelling around South East Asia.  It seems like I have inherited this mode of travel quite recently.

Those that know me personally can say I travel  two ways.  The first is my default mode.  I decide where I want to go, buy tickets, then fly off with minimal planning but sufficient research (i.e. I am going to Berlin and I have a few things / districts I want to see).  This normally happens when I travel alone, on short trips.

When I travel with other people, the obsessive-compulsive side of me comes out.  To say that I prepare detailed itineraries is an understatement.  I have been known to produce spreadsheets with accomodation details (including websites, contact detials and Google map links) and overland travel details (including pricing, station locations, and travel time).  Sometimes the spreadsheet will have tabs for different itinerary options for multi-stop travel.  For example, when we travelled to India, I had a spreadsheet with four tabs. Option A – two days in Delhi, and hire a car for one day in Agra, then travel onwards to Jodhpur by train. Option B – Delhi-Agra (day trip by car)-Delhi-overnight train to Jodhpur.  Option A1/B1 – two days in Jodhpur and two in Jaisalmer, one day on the train back.  Option A2/B2 – two days in Jodhpur, three in Jaisalmer and take a plane back to Delhi.  And each location would have two options for accomodations, for my friends to choose.  Yes, I get THAT crazy.

So now it feels rather strange to be travelling with little more than notes on my smart phone.  I am flying off in a week’s time, and between now and then, I get the feeling I would forget something.  The last time I looked through my trip notes was two months ago.  I’ve packed my backpack, which took all of 30mins.  I’ve checked the weather forecast (rain, ugh!) and I’m just about to finalize my budget. Somehow it all feels rather haphazard, and I suppose in many ways, it is.

I’m going up to the mountains, taking public transport in an unfamiliar province, with two transfers between the airp0rt and my lodging.  I won’t be speaking the local language, but hopefully I will be able to communicate enough to get around.  I have a list of things I want to experience, but how to get there – I’ll just have to ask.

Perhaps the unsettling part comes from the fear that this trip won’t be as fun or as eventful as my other trips.  That I’ll get lost and waste time and not enjoy the journey.

Or maybe it’s just me, thinking that I won’t get as many opportunities to travel in the coming months, and that this is my chance to make it count.

For the first time since I’ve started travelling, I’m not excited by my upcoming trip.  And that just makes me sad.

Perhaps planning holidays builds up the anticipation.  Maybe next time, I should go back to my multi-tabbed spreadsheets.

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