Traveling the World- Planning vs Seat of the Pants

Homer_Looking_at_Map_(Artwork)So at this point, we’ve been talking about leaving the country and traveling the world for over six months. But what happens when you don’t exactly see eye to eye? What if you travel very differently. How do you make it all work?

When we were first married we traveled VERY differently. My idea of traveling is relaxation. It includes a beer, and good book and not moving very much at all. I remember quite clearly the first time we took a cruise and my wife wanted to do EVERYTHING. And I mean everything, she wanted to plan every moment of the cruise. She literally couldn’t sit on deck and read a book for 30 minutes without getting antsy and knowing “the plan”. I was thinking when are we going to start vacationing?

So obviously our big discussions revolve around “the plan”. How much do we plan, and to what level, and what works for each of us.

My idea of a plan is doing research on places. I’m looking for cheap, good food, and cheap transportation. I worry less about safety as I think as long as you avoid war torn places you should be ok, just use your head.

So if you were to look at my “plan”, I have probably 70 cities I’d like to visit for a duration between 1-9 weeks. I’m in love with Asian food, so obviously I’d prefer to be in Asia somewhere. It meets all my requirements, cheap, good food, cheap to get to. As far as a plan, I’m ok with getting the cheapest flight that moves us from one side of the planet to the other, and then figuring out where to go from there. I’m ok with the idea of, if we hate Thailand or SEA(South East Asia) then we can just take a flight to Eastern Europe or Central America. I’m quite ok with not exactly knowing where I’m going to be tomorrow. I like the idea of being flexible and going where we want when we want. I believe we go into a location with the idea that we give it a few days, if we hate it, we move on, if we love it, we stay as long as we want(or visa allows) before we research the next place we want to go that fits my requirements.

I do much of the cooking in our household and it’s why I don’t do a ton of HUGE shopping trips but do a bunch of daily trips. It’s 3:15pm as I write this, I probably have to start dinner in a couple of hours andIMG_6049 I still don’t know what I’m going to make. I have some leftover Kaeng Kua from last night. Or I have everything for Miso Ramen soup(I just picked up the frozen fish cakes). Yet my wife cannot function like that, I think she needs to get about a two week notice before she can cook a meal(sorry babe, that was a bus).

Mamasita is much more of a planner, she wants to know where we’re going, when, what should we get shots for, etc. Now granted she’s gotten better and my mellowness has rubbed off on her. I think she’ll be even better after we get into the groove of traveling. I’m not saying she has to completely map out the entire six month trip, but she definitely needs more planning than I do.

I understand that need, but I think it’s unnecessary, and expensive. As many of you know who have traveled extensively, everything in this world is negotiable, and the best deals are made face to face, belly to belly(an old sales term). I think you land in a city like Chiang Mai and get a hotel/hostel for a few nights while you find a rental to stay in. Not book a location online where the prices could be double to triple what you would pay on the ground. To be clear I’m ok with planning, I just don’t always think it’s the best choice in every situation.

I like the idea of being flexible and going with what makes sense at the time. What if we meet some friends, and they are moving on to another city that we want to visit as well, should we stick with our “plan” or should we be more flexible. The big question is can we find a happy medium where MamaSita and I can both be happy, where she has enough of a plan that she can relax and not freak out, and can I find a level of flexibility that allows me to choose whether next week I want to be eating curry in Chiang Mai or Laksha in Kuala Lumpur?

For those of you who have already traveled or are currently traveling, what kind of level of planning do you generally do?

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