Twice the Travel, Twice the Planning (Or, Post No. 500!!!)

When it comes to short-term travel, different people adopt different approaches when planning trips.

For some (like my friend mentioned here), it’s an easygoing, whatever-will-be-will-be frame of mind.

Flights are booked almost last minute, as is accommodation (which always seems to work out). Even if they don’t necessarily know how they’re getting from one destination to the next, they calmly figure it out in the end. And if they’re in a place they like and they want to stay an extra day or a week? No problem.

For others, trip-planning requires a higher, more precise degree of organization.

Tickets are booked, accommodations arranged, and itineraries are drafted. This traveller knows where they’re going, when they’re going to be there, what they’re going to see (and what day), and when they’re leaving. Deviation from the plan could elicit discomfort, but that’s all dependent on the person.

And then there’s me (and people like me, to varying degrees). I consider myself a hybrid of sorts.

I do like to arrange  things like transportation and accommodation, well in advance – I just want one less thing to worry about while on the go.

As for what I do when I get there, I have a list in my head of places I aim to see, but not a detailed-to-the-minute itinerary. And if I don’t make it (which is very likely, because I’m not an early-morning person, and I REALLY enjoy my sleep), it’s not the end of the world. I just go down the list and decide I want to do next.

Of course, my normal travelling “demeanour” is currently being tested.

A friend and fellow traveller, who lives in Ottawa, asked me several weeks back if I’d interested in going state-side for a trip during the August long weekend.

Like I WASN’T going to say yes.

Of course, in making plans and gleefully daydreaming about our upcoming getaway, I haven’t quite completed booking all the particulars for my upcoming trip in September. So now I’m trying to juggle planning for both and wondering if I’ve bitten off a bit more than I can chew.

I like to book the accommodations, and have a bit of time left over to read up on sights I might want to see. And if I’m travelling with someone, I’d like to have read up a bit before offering input on what I’d like to see. If I don’t, not only do I feel behind the ball, but then I feel I’m simply agreeing with my travelling companion, since they’ve already done quite a bit of reading, and they feel they’ve got a general idea of what they’d like to see. I don’t like to be a tag-along traveller.

But I suppose I only have myself to blame for that. Travel is, after all, what you make it. It’s the difference between a bunch of pictures you post on Facebook to prove that you were there, and the memories you make, and the emotions evoked when you experience a new place or culture.

Perhaps this is where I should take my friend Jen’s philosophy and just go with the flow.

Epilogue (or, The Return)

Monday, February 20.

We’re ready and packed pretty quickly. We’ve almost got the routine down to a science.

Jen drops by our room; we give her our remaining food to take with her on the long trip down to Santa Teresa, where she’ll spend the next week with a mutual friend with ours.

Somehow (and this pretty much convinces me she’s simply blessed in travel-related matters), she’s gotten an arrangement through the hotel, for a shuttle that will take her (and two other women from the States) all the way down to Santa Teresa – avoiding an otherwise long, winding trip to get to the six-hour ferry she’d otherwise have to take.

According to the man at the reception desk, arrangements like that NEVER happen.

(I NEED to know how she does that.)

We part ways, and Jenn, Zoe and I drive the two or so hours back to the car rental place to return our trusty RAV4.

We’re shuttled to the airport, and before we know it, we’re in the air … back to our chilly home, and cold reality.

Today.

It’s been exactly six weeks since our trip ended. And man, does it ever feel like a dream.

I did spend another week after Costa Rica puttering around, before returning to work.

But it didn’t take very long for the post-vacation bliss to completely evaporate.

It’s as if my workplace decided to make me pay – nay, overcompensate – for the fun I’ve had, by working it right out of me.

Long shifts. Numerous requests to work overtime. The list goes on.

I even took a long weekend off in mid-March, to visit a friend in Ottawa. But it didn’t really ease the fatigue or the grind of the big, bad work machine.

In fact, I’ve just come off of nine consecutive days of work, had one day off, and have started another six-day stretch.

The only thing keeping me from completely losing my mind, is the prospect of a future trip.

I just submitted my request for summer vacation.

Fingers crossed, I get my first choice. But I already know where I’d like to go.

And I’ve even been speaking with another friend, who’s thinking of going to one of my desired destinations. With any luck, our trip itineraries will overlap.

Even if they don’t and I end up going alone, I’ll be happy just to have the privilege of going places I’ve never been before, and to soak up what I can, for however long I can.

And perhaps in between my big trips, I can find the time to take some day-trips outside Toronto (providing I don’t have to work, that is).

But make no mistake: The travel bug that’s laid dormant for the past few years is awake.

My wanderlust has returned. With a vengeance.

“Trippin’ ” Over Plannin’

Ah, it’s that time of year at my workplace –

Summer vacation request time.

I’m always ambiguous about this.

Mainly, I hate the fact that they ask in MARCH, because:

(1) Where I work, my fellow employees are currently trying to use the vacation days they currently do have – in this case, they gotta do it in 14 days (barring special permission some of them have to get to carry them forward).

(2) I don’t friggin’ know what I’ll be doing two weeks from now! How am I supposed to know WHEN – between April and October – I want to take vacation?

(3) I personally think they shouldn’t be asking until April.

But secretly, part of me likes this because:

(1) It gets my butt in gear to start seriously thinking about I DO want to do with my vacation days.

(2) This year, I am jonesing for travel – especially since I haven’t left Canada for two years.

(3) I just got my passport renewed in February. Which means those blank, money-scented pages are begging to be broken in and stamped.

Last fall, I vowed that I was going to take a trip this coming September. I’ve already paid a visit to a tour company for a lovely, full-colour brochure. And scribbling out my hypothetical itineraries on a notepad has already gotten me kind of excited.

To further add to the mix, some friends of mine are thinking of expanding our yearly “girls’ weekend” – usually spent at a cottage – into a mini-trip, perhaps to an exotic locale.

This kind of complicates things, because I only have a set number of vacation days … which means I’d have to bank – more than several days in lieu to pull it off. Plus, we haven’t set dates yet – and I’m hoping I have enough seniority for my employer to let me move it around once those dates are decided.

But hey, the year’s still young. Anything could happen between now and July, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go peruse Amazon – there’s a travel book that’s calling my name.

The Planning Begins … Again.

I was debating whether to say anything about thglinfis, or leave an air of mystery about it until I started blogging about it in about five weeks.

But fuck it.

I’m taking another trip – I booked it last week. I go in just over a month.

Eeeep!

Some of you who have been reading my posts regularly, may already have a clue as to where I’m going. For those of you that don’t, I’m keeping mum until I post my first entry from the mystery location. That is, unless I’ve already spilled the beans to you myself. 

(And to those of you that DO know: don’t spoil it just yet for those that don’t …)

All I’ll say is, it’s not Europe. (Heh heh.)

Right now, I’m in that initial stage which comes after the trip package and flight (which has me trekking across the European continent!) have been booked and put on my credit card. 

I’ve been trying to take it down a few notches so I don’t lose all enthusiasm by the time the flight date comes around.

But inside I’m constantly saying to myself, I still can’t believe I’m actually going to make this happen! (Fingers still crossed!)

Now I have to educate myself  about my destination. I’ve already asked a  friend I know for advice and information, as well as people on an online travel forum, of which I’m a member. And it’s all been very valuable.

After waiting excitedly for four days, the first of two books I ordered online arrived in the mail yesterday. I’ve been doing everything in my power not to stay up all night to voraciously pour over every page and stare at every glossy photo. And daydream.

I figure, as long as I absorb as much as I can of the essentials – and make sure to use this time to buy what I’ll need – I should be okay. Right?