“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for planning addiction.  Hi, my name is Patti.  I’m a planner.  Always have been, always will be. I like the challenge of planning, stretching my organizational skills to the max and putting together all the pieces of the puzzle.

Had I not been a classroom teacher, I would have rocked the role of party planner.  I like knowing all of my little ducks are in a row.

ducks-in-a-row

There’s a lot to be said about planning and there tends to be two schools of thought; those who plan and those who do not. Of course it’s fun to just throw your bags in the car and head out into the unknown with no particular destination in mind, but sometimes, ya just gotta have a plan.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  ~ Alan Lakein

Planning. When our envelope from Eurail came I did a little dance of joy and then added it to the ever-growing planning pile on what used to be known as our dining room table.  A few days later Abi asked me a question about the tickets that I couldn’t answer. I started sorting through and reading the contents of the envelope and it turned out that even though we have Eurail passes, there are certain train routes that require reservations. And, trains in France – in particular – are often booked way ahead. Oops!  Drop everything, fast forward to reserving our tickets from Frankfurt to Paris to Bayonne and I learned today we have our seats.  But, I didn’t get my 1st choice of departure times.  Nearly 3 months ahead and we didn’t get our 1st choice, but we got our dates and that was the key piece.  And, as it turns out, there is a reservation fee for booking the seats.  Who knew?  Lesson learned.

This is what planning looks like around here.

This is what planning a 3-month trip looks like around here.

Planning. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that after hiking 16 miles across the Pyrenees, we will be exhausted and our bodies will be crying screaming out in mutiny. Why would I leave it to chance to find a hotel room in a tiny little village called Roncesvalles?  That’s why they take reservations, right?!

Planning.  We’re taking on 5 countries in 13 weeks, carrying only what fits in our packs and what won’t break our backs.  It takes a bit of planning to figure out exactly what to take, what’s essential. And sometimes what we don’t need is just as important.  Do I really need a 2nd pair or shoes?  Maybe not.  But when you’re taking on a walk across Spain, maybe a 2nd pair of shoes isn’t such a bad idea?

This is it.  Two people, two backpacks, 13 weeks, 5 countries.

This is it: 2 people, 2 backpacks, 13 weeks, 5 countries.

With all of that being said, we do leave room for spontaneity.  We do plan and book our flights, trains and accommodations, but once we’re at our destination we just relax and take it all in.  We’ve rented an apartment in Prague and in Aix en Provence, but beyond that, we have no set plans for exploring each city. We plan to walk the Camino for 40 days but we can still take each day as it comes, as long as there’s a hotel room at the end of each day!  It’s a good balance.  But planning for the – gotta be there the night before the flight nights – is always a good idea.  Sometimes, ya just gotta have a plan!

And sometimes, when you’re considering a major life change, you really need to step it up when it comes to planning. It’s a process.  Abi and I used our years in Ashland, to position ourselves to make our big move in October 2014.  Luckily, there are awesome people out there to help with said planning.

Kim and Brian of So-Many-Places are two such awesome people. They just launched Travel School; a self-paced, 4-week e-course designed for anyone who wants to travel long-term. Whether your plans include a career break, a gap year, travel in retirement or living on the road as a digital nomad, Travel School will walk you step-by-step through the process of planning and executing long-term travel.  Travel School members have lifetime access to the Travel School courses and website, module workbooks, private Travel School Facebook group and monthly Google Chats.  Click here to learn more and register today.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”  ~ Jim Rohn

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