I am a planner, always have been.  I make lists and spreadsheets to try to corral the inherent entropy of life.  Order, containment, and anticipation give me comfort. I like to know where I am headed and when. So, it gave me great pause when several years ago, a good friend, with whom I have tremendous respect, offered some sound advice saying, “Nothing ruins a great vacation more than over-planning.”  Ouch!

But he is right, and I have tried, by the hardest, to adhere to his admonition.  When charting a road trip with our trailer, I now try to leave holes in the itinerary, not only for contingencies such as weather, traffic, and breakdown, but also for the magic of the unexpected – the sunsets, rainbows, wildlife, dramatic surf, full moons, hungry cutthroat trout, second round of craft beer, and extra bird songs with our morning coffee.

Now, don’t confuse the lack of over-planning with not being prepared.  I have equipment lists for the trailer, list of contacts and emergency procedures, packing lists for Marcia and I, and lists of lists.  I like to think I am prepared for whatever might happen.  But the best memories we bring home from our vacations usually arise from unplanned adventures we just stumble upon.  Leave room in your vacation plans for the magic.

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2 thoughts on “Over-Planning

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  1. We totally get this. I’m a planner like you (every move written down) but we’ve found the best experiences come from serendipity. It’s taught me a lot about just letting travel happen. Thanks!

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