I despise trip planning. Some people love it, but I just can’t. No matter how many places I see and visit, I hate having things planned out to the tee and having to put the effort into reading and siphoning through all the information out there. It’s kind of overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to figure out six months of travel. When I stepped off the plane in Bangkok for my six months in SE Asia, the only thing I had planned was my hostel and how to get there. I remember reading my travel guide late that night and early the next morning (thank you jet lag) while my dorm-roomies slept on, trying to figure out what there was to do in Bangkok and where I wanted to go next in Thailand. Thankfully I bumped into a fellow traveller who knew where she wanted to go and us two, along with three others, bussed our way to a lovely island and my problems were solved.
Currently, I am sitting at my desk at home, with a massive six month South American trip looming less than four weeks away. And I’m terrified. How long do I want to spend in the country I fly into? How easy is it to hop into Colombia? Will I love it and spend lots of time there? Will I meet someone and all my travel plans fly out the window? Will I want to move on to Venezuela quickly?… Oh, look! Curacao and Aruba are super close to Venezuela, why wouldn’t I go there? But oh goodness, how did I not realize how expensive it is to fly around South America? And I really want to fly to the Galapagos and Easter Islands, but I only have so much money…. And thus goes the alarming, bouncing dialogue in my head. With so many options of things to see and do and the desire to do them ALL, how can I make this work in only six months with a budget of less than $2000 dollars a month? Ah, the terrible terrible woes of amazing and unbelievable world trips…
And connected with trip planning, is actually booking things. Setting things in stone and putting real money on the line with the risk of losing that money if you change the date or skip out entirely. I’ve been guilty of purposely missing flights before, whether it was to hang out with a certain boy a bit longer, or because I wasn’t even in the proper country at the time. And when my hard-earned money is so precious, losing money on something I thought was a good idea is my least favourite thing of all. You’d think I’d have learned about flexible fares by now, hey?
But, regardless of how stressed out official trip planning makes me feel, with my Google machine readily available, my travel guide in hand, and a handy-dandy map of South America with all my must-see-and-do’s highlighted in red, I’m sure I’ll figure it all out. After all, no matter what I get up to while in South America, there is one guarantee – it’s going to be amazing.