Lessons from Exploring: Be Spontaneous

One of the coolest parts of life is taking trips to explore the planet no matter how far from home you may find yourself going or where you go to; a vast wilderness full of mountains and carefully sculpted landscapes or a city, big or small. 

Most of the time, at least for me, trips are planned  at least months in advance mainly so my travel companions and me can make sure we get a some sort of lodging for our adventure.  Often, we decide to go on trip, figure out where to go, and then locate our base campsite or hotel that will be our temporary home.  Next we figure out what we will need and gather any gear that we will need to make the journey the best we can.

Sometimes though, our trips are not thought out months in advance.  Sometimes we don’t even have the goal of going somewhere months in advance.  Sometimes, the opportunity for adventure presents itself and we can’t help but take it.  While planning and organizing a well before it actually happens is a great strategy, gives us something to look forward to, and allows us to make sure we are prepared, I find there is a certain beauty in the spontaneous that you don’t get with a planned trip.

The Stars are the Limit

During any trip, anything seems possible, but when you take a spontaneous journey you might find yourself open to do anything for you don’t have any plans for the trip to stick to.  With a planned trip one often will figure what they want to do each day and have some sort of a game plan or schedule involved that you may try to stick to.

Now, I am not saying this is a bad thing by no means for it is good to have structure, but when you take a trip on a leap there is a magic in not have anything planned because you simply didn’t have time to plan what you wanted to do.  

You wing it and while this may sound intimidating it is also uniquely exciting.  Because you don’t have a plan or a set schedule you may find yourself unknowingly open for anything and come across opportunities you may have missed with a set plan.  A chance for discovery.

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Me taking in the view with Indian Head Rock in the Distance

For example, I go up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at least once a year and every trip is always somewhat planned except for this one time when I went on a whim and decided to travel up there the day before I left.  There was a certain freedom in this for I didn’t have time to set a schedule and just went with it and took any path that opened itself to me.

In this, I discovered new things about one of my favorite places on the planet, jumped out of my comfort zone because I didn’t know what to expect, and there was a nice freedom of not having a schedule to stick to.

The stars are the limit for any trip you take, but when you jump on the ship of spontaneity you can crack open a whole new world of possibility and adventure.

A Different Kind of Excitement

Going on a trip is always exciting no matter how you plan or organize it with the most exciting part being those first few steps away from home when the trip finally begins.  When you plan a trip with no time to plan or without planning at all, it welcomes in a different kind of excitement.

One experience that comes to mind from my travel experiences was my week long expedition to the Big Island of Hawai’i in the summer of 2018 that I took with a couple of friends.  Usually one would plan a trip like that well ahead of time or at least have an idea you would like to go to Hawai’i well before you decide to go. 

However, my friends and me, who never had any plans to go to Hawai’i and didn’t have it near the top of our destination list, decided to go there and booked the flights and hotels for it all in less than 24 hours, just 26 days before our flight left.  Luckily, our employers were awesome and gave us all the time off in that short of notice.  

It was the unexpectedness of it all and the quick realization that we were going somewhere amazing we didn’t plan on going that made me feel alive in an incredible way.  Since we booked the trip in such a short time and our schedules were busy until we left, we didn’t really plan anything for it.  Sure had things we knew we wanted to do, like go to the top of Mauna Kea to see the observatories, drink out of a fruit, and go to the Green Sand beach, but we didn’t plan which day we would go on each adventure.

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A beach of Green Sand

For me this made the trip more relaxed and that much more exciting because we were planning it as we went so we really didn’t know what was right around the corner.  Despite the lack of planning we still managed to do everything we wanted to and then some and it made for the coolest trip, which is an understatement.  The whole experience felt like a dream and I think the limited planning helped with that.

The excitement of having nowhere to be and no schedule of time to go by was relaxing and added fuel to our drive of adventure.

No Expectations

With Spontaneous trips you may also find yourself having a smaller chance of being disappointed because you have no idea what to expect and you don’t really build up any expectations for a journey.  

Sometimes when you take time to plan a trip and research a location you can build up expectations for that location that could be unrealistic or just very high and this has the potential to lead a trip to be not as fun as it actually was.

Just last year on the day before New Year’s Eve my buddies Landon and Bobby and me decided on the way home from a hockey game that we would go to Cleveland, Ohio for New Year’s Eve and Day to go biking at a giant indoor BMX/mountain biking course and experience New Year’s Eve in a big city we had never been to before, at least Bobby and me.

Outside of the rush of planning and leaving for this trip so soon, I didn’t know what to expect from this trip and the city of Cleveland and didn’t assume anything, I was just along for the ride.  

While this may not have been the most action packed trip, aside from the biking, which was intense and a complete blast, I left and came home with no disappointment because I didn’t have time to develop any standards or expectations for this trip.  The experience itself was awesome and it was so surreal to have said on our way down that less than 24 hours ago, Cleveland wasn’t even in our heads for somewhere to go to celebrate the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Again, I am not saying don’t ever plan ahead for a trip for this is a very good thing to do and Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (5 P’s of traveling), especially if you are doing something like a week-long backpacking excursion to the southern rim of Utah, please take many months to plan and organize for that.

What I am trying to say is always keep your eyes and heart open for adventure and be ready for you never know when the time to jump in a car or plane with your best friends and hit the open road may come.

Know that it is okay to leave for an expedition to a new or familiar place and not have everything planned, winging it can lead you to unexpected and unforgettable experiences that will give you stories to tell for the rest of your life.  Just be sure to keep your feet, have faith, and enjoy each and every moment.

Spontaneous adventures will give you such a cool feeling, almost like you are invincible and infinite and teach you so much about yourself. So, don’t be afraid to take them, even though it can be scary, when an opportunity comes. Sometimes you have to do something that seems crazy to start something amazing.  Sometimes you just have to… 

“Leap, and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs

Song for thought: “Belong” by Cash Cash and Dashboard Confessional

Travel with Love

– Dustin

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