As you may have already read, I’m used to planning things my entire life. Planning my meals, my outfits, my vacations, my future, all in neat little charts, graphs, spreadsheet, etc. But recently my travel habits have changed and I now have the options of spontaneity and instantaneity.
From both personal experience and word of mouth (aka blogs), I have learned about the ways that planning and waiting for a trip affect an individual. By planning a trip you learn about the destination and decide on places and things you want to see and do. Then you wait in anticipation for the trip, getting more and more excited with each passing day. You get yourself pumped. You pack your bags, do some pre-trip shopping, carefully crossing things off your to-do list (if you’re anything like me there will always be lists). Vacation time is approaching and you’re about to bounce off the walls. Then, that day finally arrives. You look forward to the hotel you booked, you eagerly arrive early at the airport to ensure everything goes smoothly. You anticipate because you know. Now imagine all that is gone. Imagine you made the decision to go somewhere less than 48 hours before departure and you have no plans upon arrival. How does that impact your experience?
O and I embarked on precisely this sort of endeavor in March with our weekend in Havana. Personally I found that this level of spontaneity and instantaneity makes the trip a lot better. In those (let’s say) 48 hours before departure we had just enough time to (somewhat) research the area, language and general culture. Although this method of travel is probably not widely recommended, I believe it enhanced the experience. Of course it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. We had some moments of culture shock and there were times where the lack of preparation negatively impacted the trip. However, I learned more about myself and gained more perspective on life in that weekend than I have in the past 10 years. I felt accomplished whenever I succeeded at something and celebrated every little detail that I noticed. There was no sense of urgency and there was no certainty. The sun seemed to shine brighter, anything that was wrong just didn’t seem to matter. The only directions given were either left or right. We were clueless but present and truly happy.
And overall, there was an accelerated rush of adrenaline together with this incredible sense of adventure which seemed to combine all the anticipation in the world into those mere 48 hours. In that case, it makes me wonder; can the feeling of anticipation really ever be lost?