Planning ~

“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.


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


26 Responses to Planning ~

  • You mentioned “hiking 16 miles across the Pyrenees.: Surely the mileage is a typo.

    • Nope, not a typo. It’s the length of the average first day walking the Camino de Santiago. We’ll start in St. Jean Pied de Port and stop in Roncesville for the night – that’s day 1.

  • You might want to talk to Darell & Rocky( Monkey Lady) for some tips. If you see any leads for a House sitter Facebook me? LOL

  • I love to plan a trip but am not keen on reservations even though I know sometimes it’s a must. You must be about to burst with excitement.
    Gaelyn recently posted…Sculptures at Galleta MeadowsMy Profile

    • Totally understand, Gaelyn. Having your truck and camper definitely affords you a lot of freedom, it would be hard to give that up. What’s great about traveling is that there are so many options!

  • I’m with you on getting the transportation and accommodations set up in advance, but for me, the planning process is a little like root canal. I’m even worse when it comes to party planning. I’m really lucky that our son and daughter-in-law planned their own wedding. Not long now before your adventure although I’m still bummed that I’ll miss meeting you IRL by one day!

    • I know! So close, but our paths will cross when they are supposed to and I’m looking forward to it. At least I’m on the east coast now which – in theory – should make it easier. 😉

  • You will have to let me know about the apartment in France. I plan to be there in June. Linda

  • Planning is half the fun in my book Patti (even though we always seem to change our plans!), I am currently looking through packing lists for cycling trips and loving every second of it! (I know, massive geek!)

    Sounds like an ace plan! Enjoy. Oh also I had no idea trains booked up that quick! We may need to look into that, so thanks for the tip off!
    Rob recently posted…Life on the farm – Latest house sitMy Profile

    • Apparently, Rob, some countries/trains are more popular and as such they tend to fill, or maybe it’s the time of day. Our train from Frankfurt to Paris had to be on a specific date, so we didn’t have much flexibility. Have fun with the lists! I love a good list!

  • Patti, I’m so excited for you. Your trip sounds fantastic. BTW: We are only 2 hours from Prague…we could meet up! Have fun!
    Corinne recently posted…Weekend Travel Inspiration – PossessionMy Profile

  • Hi Patti, I was never a good planner until I had children. My husband always does a list for everything and I have learned to love lists also. In my job I plan a whole year ahead and what clinics I will be doing. I wonder what are you going to be packing on your lovely backpacks? I am very excited for you.
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…A Hen Do After She Said I DoMy Profile

  • I agree Patti, sometimes you just gotta plan! I am a planning addict and absolutely love the process of organising a new trip. Like you, I try not to plan every thing but right now I’m already researching possible places to stay in New England this autumn on AirB&B. Planning helps build the excitement!
    Amy recently posted…Five Reasons to Love HanoiMy Profile

    • Totally agree, Amy. When I’m planning it allows me think about what’s coming up, which is nice when I have to wait for the upcoming adventure because I’m never patient! 😉 And when you know you have to be somewhere, or when you have certain time frames to work with, planning just makes it all come together that much easier.

  • Hi Patti,
    Hope you watched that movie with Martin Sheen (‘The Way’) about walking the Camino? Really liked the movie, except how they portrayed the Canadian woman (us Canadians a lot nicer than that. She was like a New Yorker going through menopause).
    Anyway, you’re going to have a great time, sounds like an awesome trip! Prague special and you’ll avoid the summertime crowds. And Munich is a nice city as well…I’m sure you’ll both be drinking lots of beer 😉
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted…We’re not on Holiday! Differences between vacationing and travelling explainedMy Profile

    • Hi Frank ~ We have seen, “The Way” twice! If you ever get the chance see the documentary, “Walking the Camino – Six Ways to Santiago” don’t miss the opportunity, it’s what truly inspired us. Abi will take care of consuming beer, I’m not a fan, but I’m sure I’ll amuse myself another way. 😉

  • Except for one/two road trips in the Jeep, I will attend those 12 Step Planning meetings with you Patti. I’m so happy for you and Abi to have this amazing experience all dialed in reservation-wise. Now, just to get there then I know you two will have the time of your lives 🙂

    • Hey Mike! Good to hear from you. I’m pretty much ready to get this show on the road and I’m full of eager anticipation and angst, cuz I always get full of angst before we take on a BIG trip. 😉

  • We grew up camping, so we’re used to exploring the open road. Although, living on the Canary Islands, we’ve enjoyed exploring the hotels and holiday homes. Not so many campsites over here.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…CoWorking CanariasMy Profile

  • I am a planner too…..but try not to be so much! “The best laid plans…” as they say, I often find my best memories have come from the moments the plans didn’t work out. Can’t wait to follow along the Eurail agenda and especially the Camino!!!! Definitely one on our bucket list.
    Rhonda recently posted…A SetbackMy Profile

    • Thanks, Rhonda! We appreciate the support and I’m going to carry all the support with me on those long days of walking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.


3 years, 107 days ago!





Featured On