What planning did you do for your trip? How could you leave your home,
your family and your friends? What about your dog and the cat? Isn't it
dangerous? Aren't you afraid? What will you do for money? What about
your pension? What if you get ill?
The doubters, scaremongers as well as friends and family who were simply
concerned, bombarded us with these and many other questions. Not that
we hadn't asked ourselves the same questions, but when someone else
keeps asking it seems to be more pressured somehow.
'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'said Alice to the Cheshire Puss.
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
I don't much care where....' said Alice.
Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
.....so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
Oh, you're sure to do that...' said the Cat, '...if you only walk long enough.'
(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll)
Some might argue that the best form of travel should have no planning. Go where the
fancy takes you. No route or direction. No regard for security, safety
or good health.
Karen and I have both sat quietly giggling away, reading "A Narrow Dog
to Carcasonne" by Terry Darlington and his second book "A Narrow Dog to
Indian River". On his narrow boat tours with their whippet dog Jim,
Terry portrays himself as an "artiste", a poet with little in the way of
practical skills and leaves the planning to his wife Monica. He says
that a trip cannot develop into an adventure if it is too well planned.
In one way he is right, but in truth they spent a long time planning and
researching both of their trips beforehand. We share a similar view. We
hate to commit ourselves too strongly to a specific route or
destination. We are spontaneous, often doing things last minute, but
equally we enjoy planning routes, pouring over maps and reading about
places to see and wild country to visit.
We were also planning for a number of years before we jumped out of the
comfort of our cosy jobs and home. The amount of planning you do can
make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a disaster.. At one end of the scale a trip could be foolhardy,
dangerous and all risk. At the other end of the scale a trip planned in
every minute detail can be too predictable, safe and ...well, quite
simply unchallenging. Our two eldest sons have both done "the gap year"
and both warned us not to plan to rigidly and to be ready to change our
plans as we travel.
Terry Darlington writes "On an adventure, much of the time you feel
rather as you would do at home, perhaps a bit happier at times a bit
more bored at others. But sometimes you are scared - jolted and empty
and cold and tasting metal in your mouth. It is not a nice feeling and
you don't forget it." And this is how we see adventure. This feeling is
like a drug. The more you get the more you want.
So think of planning as you would of climbing a rock face. Place some
good secure safety ropes, but leave plenty of room for maneuvering from
one hold to another. There are a number of things that need careful
consideration even if they do not require in depth planning. How much
consideration you give to these things will depend on your own attitude
towards them and to risk in general. The main thing is that you are
comfortable with the feelings and emotions that different levels of risk