After deciding to embark on a long trip your mind starts building endless to-do lists. You begin organizing your current life to leave what you have spent the past 20+ years creating. Items such as your rent, bills, and piles of stuff start swirling in your mind and you think to yourself, “what am I going to do with everything that is tying me to my home?” Depending on your timeline and your ability to procrastinate the pre-planning stages look different for everyone.
So you start with the easy things:
- Sell your unwanted stuff on Craigslist
- Find someone to buy/rent/lease your current home
- Cancel bills
- Change your name and redirect to a new address
- Tell your job that you are leaving
Then you start thinking about trip specifics:
- Get the travel vaccinations you need
- Look up visa information
- Take passport photos
- Add pages to your passport
- Pick out your gear that you want to travel with
After taking care of everything above you have spent 6+ months “planning” for your year-long trip and still have yet to actually plan what you’ll be doing after you step off of that first flight. You have little information about what you want to see when you get there or where you want to stay. You hope that you got the right insurance, and hopefully remembered to call your banks and tell them the countries you will be visiting.
Our to-do list is never ending. Every day we cross off items, and every day we add a couple more things we want to get done. Depending on your personality you will feel more or less comfortable with your lack of information and research before you take off. I encourage you to cross off the necessary must-do items (don’t fly to China sans passport) and start to become comfortable with less of a “plan”. Pre-planning is important, but open up your time and schedule to new discoveries and unplanned adventures. We have spent six months pre-planning and taking care of administrative tasks for our trip that leaves in less than 21 days. We have a framework of our trip outlined, a round-the-world ticket, and two backpacks. Beyond that, we are open to wherever the train/bus/boat/motorbike/tuk-tuk takes us.
Do you travel without a plan, or do you plan every minute detail?