Thursday, September 13, 2012

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

How do you travel?  Do you prefer to have it all planned out for you by going on a tour?  Or do you work with a travel agent to plan where you will go and when?  Maybe you do a lot of your own research ahead of time so you are well-informed.  Or are you at the other extreme, where you just go and see what happens?

One summer vacation while in college, the hubby and I (we were just dating at the time) were able to make one of my dreams come true - a much smaller version of the longer-term around the world dream that we are currently working towards.  I wanted to get in the car and "just go."

We took five days, packed our car with some clothes, a tent, and food, and took off.  Our only destination was "the ocean."  For us, that meant we were headed east since we were leaving from Buffalo, NY and only had five days. 

The only other rules we had were that we were not going to plan anything ahead of time, we were not allowed to drive on highways (except maybe on the way home if time was tight), and we would go wherever our whims would take us.  We would follow roads that sounded intriguing, visit a random hole-in-the-wall restaurant and discover an amazing meal, flip a coin if we came to a fork in the road and couldn't decide which way to turn, and overall just enjoy the journey and the freedom of it.

It was an amazing trip.

We spent a night at a campground in northeast NY,  drove over gorgeous green Vermont and New Hampshire mountains. We spent a night at a campground and had a pizza delivered to us by a four-wheeler. One night it rained on our tent and we couldn't dry it out, so that was the end of our camping for the trip.  We made it to the ocean in Maine and discovered an adorable (but extremely busy!) beach town, Old Orchard Beach.  We ran into trouble finding a place to stay on a very limited budget.  It was a summer weekend in a popular beach town with limited hotels.  Eventually, we found a crappy motel, paid way too much for it, and made the most of it. We reveled in our accomplishment of reaching the ocean and playing in the crisp, gorgeous water. We paid too much for a hotel in nowhere, Massachesetts. We had our ups and downs, our frustrations and annoyances, and a lot of excitement and fun.

Some of the highlights:
  • Turning the car around to get a delicious burger at a random burger joint on the side of the road
  • Playing tennis at a stumbled upon tennis court
  • Driving down a road just because I liked the name of it
  • Eating pizza in a tent that was delivered to us by an old guy on a four-wheeler
  • Driving over and among beautiful green mountains
  • Arriving at the ocean and playing in the water, despite its chilly temperature and large waves
  • Overcoming frustrations by working as a team and stepping up for each other
  • Being in a car with my best friend, with the radio playing our favorite songs and the windows rolled down
  • The feeling of freedom and adventure
  • Knowing that we had everything we needed to reach our goal and have an adventure
This was just a small snippet of a trip in comparison to our upcoming six (plus?) month adventure, but somehow I know now, just like I knew then, that we'd be ok, we can do it, we'll make it work. 

I can't wait for that feeling of freedom, spontaneity, and an amount that I've never felt before!

Do you ever travel like this?  With limited or no plans, letting yourself "just go" and see where the journey takes you?


  1. This sounds like perfect travel for me in an English speaking country!

    Or Europe.

    I prefer a plan if I'm time poor.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely memories. I really enjoyed your post.

    Sft x

    1. Hi Sft,

      I definitely understand wanting to have plans when you're short on time - sometimes it's amazing what you can find a quick weekend getaway close to home, however! I would definitely recommend trying this type of trip to anyone - especially the "planners" out there ;-)

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked the post.