This post is brought to you by Bupa Travel Insurance.
During my senior year of high school, and after a great deal of debate, I eventually chose the university that I would attend for the next stage of my studies. I chose a university in Atlanta, Georgia. However, when I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree some four years later, I had not only attended that university in Atlanta, but I had also attended a university in Melbourne, Australia and a university in my home state of Massachusetts as well.
When I first started traveling back in 1999, my plan was to travel for three months. I even had a return flight back to the USA, for exactly ninety days after I touched down in Bangkok. Go figure. I ended up traveling for 14 years…so far. I’ve visited countries I never imagined I would ever visit, I’ve had experiences that I never even knew were possible and I’ve met people whose existence and culture I had been completely unaware of.
Furthermore, when I decided to try and travel indefinitely, I quickly reached the conclusion that the only way to make this happen, to fund my travels, would be to teach English around the world. Fast forward to now and I’ve used a combination of English teaching, working on cruise ships and working online to help keep this traveling lifestyle going.
In about two weeks or so from today, I’ll be launching a new website project that I’ve been working on with a friend of mine. And I’m extremely excited about this project, even though the project that will be launched looks absolutely nothing like the original idea we had started with a few months ago. There’s almost zero resemblance.
The point of all this is that every stage of my travels, every stage of my life actually, never ends up being what I thought it would be. I go in thinking I’ll attend one university, I come out having attended three. I go in thinking I’ll travel for three months, and now I feel as if I could travel forever.
And you know what? I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
In fact, I’m a firm believer that nothing should ever go according to plan. Nothing. If something does go exactly according to plan, the chance is high that something is wrong. How can things go exactly as planned when there is no way for us to know exactly what will happen once we start to put that plan into action?
If we’re open to new ideas, and we welcome the chance for our ideas and goals to constantly evolve based upon new experiences we have in life and new information we receive or learn, it would only be natural that our plans should change often as well.
That Includes Travel Plans!
If it’s travel we’re talking about, it doesn’t matter if you’re going on a two week holiday to the beach, a three month trip around Asia or South America or a one year round-the-world adventure. It should never go according to plan in my opinion.
Of course, that’s up to each of us. The opportunities to disable our original plan and head off in a direction we once would never have conceived of instead, will always be there. Such opportunities will appear all the time. It all comes down to whether or not we embrace those opportunities and see where it takes us, even if it takes us far away from our original plan, or if we choose to ignore them instead.
When I traveled to Romania for the first time back in 2011, I was on the tail end of a two month Eurail train journey around Europe. And my plan for Romania was simple, to get a quick glimpse of the country over the course of one week and then hop on the train to Istanbul where my European adventure would come to an end. Well, that didn’t happen. Before I knew it, I was enjoying Romania so much that I made a sudden decision to abandon my original plan and change course completely. Soon after, I had set up a ‘base’ in Bucharest, I had started traveling all over this country and I began spending more time here than I would have ever guessed I would spend in this land over the course of five lifetimes.
And I’m so very happy I made that sudden change of plans. In fact, I’m so very happy that I made all of the above changes in plans over the years and that as far as I can remember, I’ve never completed anything major in my life according to the original plan. For me, the result of being open to spontaneous, unexpected change is a life more in tune with what I truly want to gain from each day I spend on this planet. And that certainly seems worth it to me.
So here’s to change. Here’s to a fuller life. Here’s to welcoming the notion that what might be our plan today, could very well be crumbled up, tossed away and replaced by an even better plan tomorrow.
Are you open to change? Do your travels/life situations usually go according to plan or do they end up being different than what you originally expected?