Of all the terms I could use describe myself, one would definitely be “compulsive planner.” I’m talking a making lists for the heck of making lists, Excel is my best friend, let’s replan something we’ve already planned, compulsive planner. And just in case you’re curious, yes, all of my DVDs and spices are in alphabetical order.
I have never really acknowledged my mild obsession with planning, something I have definitely inherited from my mother, until two summers ago when planning a family trip to Disney World. I guess going out of your way to schedule “time to relax” into your vacations plans may be a sign that you need to chill. I do blame a big part of this on being born and raised in New York. You start to realize as you get older, that everyone who has lived here their whole lives, is on edge a majority of the time. We walk fast, talk fast, and want things done in the exact order in which we want things done. Clearly that’s transferred over into my trip planning.
At this point I can research, price, and plan a complete itinerary almost as quickly as I can figure out an alternative commute home when the MTA is having train malfunctions again. Though, I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a bad thing all of the time. Because of this I have been able to make the most out of shorter trips, as well as help others plan their own adventures as an operations coordinator at Map to Magic Vacations.
But despite everything I have done so far, the most memorable moments always end up being those that were unplanned and unscheduled. And I have come to realize that it’s the accidental moments that you stumble upon, or rather the unpredictable moments that stumble upon you that are what truly make an experience.
I can’t remember exactly how long it took us to make it to the summit of the Eiffel Tower.
But I do remember strolling the Île de la Cité while eating Mango sorbet, before sitting in front of Notre Dame for a half hour. It was four days in and the sight of Notre Dame is what finally made me process that I was currently in a beautiful city I had dreamed of visiting since I was a seven. I packed so much into that week, but it was the last two days that I spent just walking and just being in Paris that always stick out in my mind.
I can’t remember the names of any of the paintings I saw at the Museum of Impressionisms during a day trip to Giverny.
But I do remember the names and stories of every amazing person I met during that tour, a recent divorcee who decided the change she needed was four months traveling France, a masseuse who traveled the world taking various meditation courses and had just come to Paris from Rome, a couple who once a year picked a piece of paper out of a hat which decided where there next adventure would be, a writer who had been living in Paris for a year and would soon be off again to somewhere new; and I remember laughing until our stomach’s hurt when I popped a bottle of cider, drenching everyone during our picnic along the Seine.
I can’t remember the names of every church I visited in Nicaragua.
But I remember making tortillas from scratch with a family we just met, though within minutes treated us as if we had known them our whole lives; even insisting we each take a mango from the tree behind their house before we left.
I can’t remember the names of the museums we visited in Quebec.
But I remember the late night ride up, as we drove through a thick wall of snow without the help of streetlights, singing “na na na na, hey, hey, hey goodbye” by Steam until we made it through. #morbid. ft. actual three second clip of my life flashing before my eyes.
At the end of the day, it isn’t about what or how many things you were able to check off your bucket list or your schedule. It’s the memories, the little things, and the unexpected pleasures that make for the best stories.