“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
— Mike Tyson
After the bus accident on the way to Hanoi, I honestly didn’t feel like doing a heckuva lot when I got there. Unless you count “moping” among leisure pursuits. In that event, I’m handsomely experienced. I didn’t write anything. I didn’t respond to comments. I was the Snuffleupagus of social media.
I had planned to see Halong Bay and Sapa in northern Vietnam before heading into Laos. I had each day calculated – where I would be, what I would do, and what the budget could handle. I had a plan, and that plan was quickly unravelling. Going the way of the Dodo, the Great Auk, and trust in Netflix.
The truth is, I was planning too much.
Way too much.
Travel is not some grocery list. Rolling through the aisles of each country, tossing experiences into your cart, smugly ticking them off as you go.
“Oh they’re fresh out of jungle tours dear, how about a nice snorkel trip for breakfast tomorrow instead?”
I am on holiday. Well, sort of. And travel shouldn’t be as much work as I was making it. Here on this date, bus on that date, then head to the checkout. Or rather, hotel checkout. Even though I am two months into this trip, I should have learned the error of my over-planning ways a lot sooner. Nothing like a punch in the face — in this case, in accident form — to adjust your priorities.
The trouble with planning is that it leaves no room for spontaneity, surprise, nor surrendering to a moment. Time is precious, and if you’re not enjoying your time on the ride, it’s best to move into a slower gear. So from now on…
Plan is a four-letter word.
I am back on holidays. Better late holidays than no holidays I say. I have extended my visa for Vietnam. That gives me another 30 days here to see it at my pace instead of scrambling. I’m going to take a stab at slow travel. At least a lot slower than the pace I was keeping.
Laos will still be there. And I plan to see it. There goes that “P” word again. You’ll have to excuse me. You see, I’m new at this.
Old habits die hard – but they do eventually die.