Yes calling those days off work and not packing the computer gave me a minor hot flash, but I knew this trip was worth it. Between 3 jobs and being a student you take what you can get. It was no excursion to the summit of Machu Picchu, but it sure as hell beat the dog poop covered sidewalks and garbage day air/metro bus exhaust air of the urban city where I live.
We were going to Traverse city Michigan and by we I mean one of the two dudes (read more here) and myself. What gives this family friendly destination vacation a little edge is the fact that we had absolutely no plans but the general expectation to go exploring to the best of our time there. My expectation was to at least replicate one of the thousands of advertisements to Traverse City that depicted happy kayakers in crystal clear lake water. Again...no zip lining through the amazon, but still some serious out doors-ness that I was looking for.
We managed to have the best time by taking the plan as you go approach. Hiking dunes, trying amazing food, and some serious kayak time left me feeling like I had packed a week of activities into a 3 day time span. Every travel adventure I have taken has been moderately planned or is that one trip you take and never change anything about i.e. traditional family beach volleyball tournament..."same teams as last year!!"
So here is why you should try traveling without a destination
Decide on the fly How many days of your life have you spent planning out your time down to the hour? My planner says....yep...pretty much every single day. I can't even deny that I have been guilty of planning out when I have time to wash my dishes. This lack of plannerized time was an amazing opportunity to embrace whatever came next. Shockingly enough the world didn't self implode when I chose to leave my planner at home.
No big deal So you show up and the place is closed. Or that day long hike you had planned turned out to be a three mile trail around a pond. Or you got stranded in a sinking canoe and were forced to swim the rest of your trip (that really happened once). When there is no agenda things not working out really becomes an experience rather than a disappointment. There is something exciting about the possibility that anything could come next.
No yearly 'stand by the same tree to show off how you've grown' picture self explanatory. Destination-less trips are all about the candids and overlook pull offs. The pictures are as unique as how you will be spending your time. Spare me the annual 'pinch your sibling with a crab leg' picture the first time that happened was more than enough for everyone's eyes.
No expectations=no complaining I was a little nervous that the lack of planning would leave me stressed out about well...the lack of planning. Going into the situation with no expectations made everything that happened a pleasant surprise and an experience that was uniquely new. It is never a bad idea to try and surprise yourself from time to time. No one wants things to get too predictable right?