Stop Planning So Much

European skies have recently been thrown into turmoil by an Icelandic volcano, shutting down many of Europe’s biggest hubs and grinding many traveller’s itineraries to a halt.  I’m feeling quite lucky, as only a week before the mayhem I flew back into Edinburgh.  But I’ve seen the upset faces on the television, have been hearing the stories of packed trains, and I can imagine it’s not at all ideal for many.

Image by martepics

It reminds me of a very powerful lesson about travel and travel planning specifically:  don’t plan so much. Some things you just can’t do anything about.

I’ve so often arrived in a city with a list of travel tips miles long (welcome to my line of work), only to find out I have arrived on a holiday weekend where nothing except touristy cafes are open.  Meh.

I’ve taken buses to out-of-the-way attractions to find they are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9-11.  It is Wednesday afternoon and I leave on Thursday.  Uhm, ok.

But my favourite travel memories are the places that weren’t on the agenda.  That hidden cafe with the amazing chocolates.  The waffle place with fresh strawberries.  The street mural I found when I got lost in the medieval town centre.

Take your eyes off that to do list for a minute and look up:  check out the architecture.

Europe’s an amazing place, but so many people rush through it so quickly and get so frustrated by its weird quirks and turns, they all but miss it.