(golden Tangier. Photo taken in Arenal.) I’m a chronic planner. I feel uncomfortable traveling when I don’t know key details like where I’m going and where I’m staying. Ironically the life plan I had worked out didn’t quite evolve as planned so I figured that the art of living my life on a week might help me learn more about myself and push me outside my comfort zone.
Old habits are hard to break. It wasn’t until I made my final hotel booking that I realized I had thoroughly planned out my entire first two weeks in Costa Rica. So, I stopped. Breathe in. Breathe out…
When I reached that last hotel booking, things began falling apart. I had a minor meltdown when I realized I wouldn’t be able to meet up with new found friends because I was too far away. I had no idea where to go and I began to get homesick. The thought of putting my bags down for weeks at a time with no need to pack and travel sounded awesome.
“What? But I thought I liked travel!” I thought to myself.
I spent several hours of frustration trying to figure out where to go and then I realized I could just use the bus schedule routes as an easy guide! When I made my next set of plans just a half day before I’d be taking them I relaxed and realized I learned some important things :
- I prefer staying in one place for a while as opposed to darting around every 2 days
- I’m resourceful
- something will work out
That last point, I think, is the most essential. Since that incident I’ve started habitually planning my next destination in Costa Rica, and even Panama, the day before I want to leave. In a couple of cases I’ve actually made plans on the day of travel! The result is more freedom, less stress, more faith in myself and in the belief that things will work out, and more ability to talk to other people and learn best places to go.
The thing I didn’t expect is relief. As I thought about traveling to places I don’t know and got all stressed about which cities to visit etc. I realized that if I have no firm plans I can just take things one location at a time, learn more about a new place and take it from there.
Sometimes doing uncomfortable things really does help you learn what you’re made of and can make life easier!