Are you the type of person who needs to have all parts of a holiday planned for fear of missing out? Do you become anxiety ridden when thinking about heading off overseas without your itinerary plotted out to the day and your accommodation booked?
Perhaps, like me, you are a bit of a control freak. You tend to be super organised and like to have plans set in stone. While this tends to be efficient and make life run smoothly at home, it often makes me wonder:
‘Does over-planning ruin the fun and spontaneity of travel’
In the lead up to my first solo overseas adventure in 10 years, I reflected on my ‘control freak’ tendencies and battled the urge to plan everything down to the last detail.
I am the type of person who loves to research. I like having a good overview of any place I will visit, I like having realistic expectations
, I thrive off knowing where the best coffee is in town and where I will find my next delicious vegetarian meal. My Lonely Planet has been purchased, the pages have been flipped and dogeared and bookmarked. Friends who have visited Nepal have been pestered with a million questions. Tripadvisor has been bookmarked and trawled through.
Yet, before I left I had an urge to throw away the guidebook and just go on an adventure. To wander without a plan. To follow my instincts. To take the advice of fellow travellers. To go where the wind takes me.
So I cancelled the accommodation I had booked for 4 weeks and instead booked into a crazy hostel for my first few nights and winged it for the rest of my accommodation. I met random strangers that turned into friends. I wandered and got lost without a plan. I threw things out of my backpack and embraced hippy dressing and minimalism. I resisted my natural tendency to plan every little thing and embraced the moment when plans changed. I let things happen. And I had a ball, had experiences and met people that I never would have.
If you could call yourself a bit of a ‘control freak’ too, here are a few ideas for things you can do to shake things up and put yourself out of your comfort zone (you don’t need to go on an overseas adventure, these are all things you can do at home):
– try a food you have never eaten
– on public transport check out what someone is reading and go buy that book
– befriend someone you wouldn’t usually talk to
– leave your phone at home and spend a day (or a weekend) being un-contactable
– ask your bartender to make you their favourite cocktail
– get in a taxi and ask the driver to take you to their favourite restaurant
– go on a blind date
– when someone invites you somewhere, say yes! (This is how I ended up in a Bollywood movie with no English subtitles)
Though the control freak within has not gone away, I feel that a trip to a place where you often have zero control over any given situation has suppressed that part of my personality slightly. I will always be an organiser and a ringleader. I will always make recommendations of my favourite places. I will always make plans. But when those plans go awry I will now embrace the chaos and just enjoy each and every moment for what it is.