I enjoy the process of planning a trip. Seemingly endless destination possibilities with varied options encourage a bit of daydreaming while nailing down the details. It’s that linear thinker in my brain coupled with just enough right-brain tendencies that make the whole process exciting!
However, the very best trips I’ve taken are the ones with almost minimal planning. “Why did you go there?” “Because we can!” An actual destination may have been chosen, yet it may have not been reached. Something shiny always catches my eye—a roadside historical sign, an offbeat tourist attraction, a beckoning road. Nowadays, we have the luxury of being able to see what is nearby with just a few clicks on a smart phone or a swipe of the finger on a digital tablet. Sometimes, what is nearby is fascinating; sometimes a bit boring; and sometimes completely hilarious. (This proves especially true for Diane and I who tend to mentally edit signs.) Taking a short side trip on a road off the Interstate can reward you with a glimpse into history or send you to a wonderfully kitschy statue/monument. Stopping for lunch in a small-town diner can provide the perfect place to meet some of the friendliest people in the world who take great pride in guiding you to the perfect local “must see” place in their town. If you’re lucky enough to meet a talkative long-time area resident, a wealth of history can be obtained in the wink of an eye (okay, maybe many winks!). What appears to you to be an ordinary old water tower could have been the site of clandestine meetings between pairs of young lovers who eventually married and have been together for ‘nigh on 50 years.’ A tiny pond in a nearby field may have been the site of little Jimmy’s locally famous fishing trip that yielded him the ‘biggest catfish we ever did see.’ Or it may have been the site of a tragic drowning many years ago. A tiny museum you explore with an engaging and friendly docent may hold great treasures and bring back memories of your grandparents or of your own childhood. Maybe you’ll learn the history behind that giant bug made from car parts located at the edge of town.
While this may sound a little boring to some and lack the excitement of jumping out of an airplane or zip-lining over a volcano, the feelings and memories of a spontaneous trip are worth every second of the experience as these experiences are real and unmanufactured.
Try it! You just might be surprised at what you find.