The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Monday, March 22, 2010

To Plan or Not to Plan

Comment from Brook- don't get too detailed in planning! It will only RESTRICT you in the long run.

Which begs the question . . . just how much is too much planning?

Anyone that knows me knows that as much as I like to claim that I'm spontaneous, I am completely OCD when it comes to organization and planning. Even the odd spontaneous camping trip I take will have me make a huge list of things to take, where to stop, etc. Taking off for a year and some on such an open schedual is. . . daunting. Look at my current schedual:

Sundays - Work Hotel, 6:30am-3pm
Monday - Work Hotel, 6:30am-3pm. Dance Class 8pm-9:30pm
Tuesday - Work Hotel, 6:30am-3pm. Work Vern's Pizza, 4:30pm-11:15pm
Wednesday - Work Vern's Pizza 9am-1pm. Dance class 7:30pm-10:45pm
Thursday - Work Vern's Pizza 9am-1pm.
Friday - Work Hotel, 6:30am-3pm. Work Vern's Pizza, 4pm-7pm
Saturday - Work Hotel, 6:30am-3pm. Work Vern's Pizza, 4pm-7pm.

I almost need to be uber organized to fit anything else in. "Ah, yes Mom. I can fit you in for family supper between 4pm and 7pm on Thursday of next week. Should I pencil you in? You can always call back to cancel or change your appointment, however space is limited."

Brook, who is currently on his own RTW trip, is right in that one should not get too bogged down in the details, but am I really bogging myself down? Here is where I am doing some planning:
- Right now, the travel agent I have chosen is looking at the best way to get flights for the big segments. These would be Canada - S.America; S.America - Canada/Europe; Mongolia - SEA; Singapore - Australia; Australia - Canada. The travel agents suggestion: A Round trip ticket from Toronto to Lima, Rio to Toronto. Those flights would have to be pre-booked(Overprep #1). From there, fly from Toronto to Spain as the first leg of my RTW ticket(Overprep #2). One of the biggest restrictions on RTW tickets is that the first international flight must be set in stone, while the rest of the tickets in the bundle can be manouvered around as you see fit, usually for little to no charge, provided there is room on the flight you want of course. My biggest reason for wanting to go this route is that I don't want to be stuck in Australia and realize I don't have enough money for a ticket back to Canada. At least this way, it's already paid for.

So, taking that into account, this is where I have to set my itinerary in stone, and where I am free to roam:
- Fly Toronto to Lima, Peru (set date, cannot change)
- Overland to Rio de Janiero, Brazil (Arrive by certain date because of next point)
- Fly Rio to Toronto (set date to be in Toronto in time for RTW Ticket to commence)
- Fly Toronto to Madrid (set date, RTW ticket requirement)
- From Madrid, through Portugal, ferry to Morocco, fly to Egypt, fly to Greece/Italy, make way around Eastern Europe (all open. Only requirement is to be in Russia after Visa begins and before it ends)
- Russia, 30 day window to enter and leave. This has to be decided before leaving Canada(Visa Requirement). Possibility of having a 90 day Business Visa, if I can swing it. This would open things up a hell of a lot more.
- After that, All else is free will until I decide to come home.

I don't want to be rushed anywhere, by any means, but I am afraid that, like Brook said, I am RESTRICTING myself by having to have so many deadline dates("Need to be here by this date, etc etc). While in South America, I'll have given myself four months to get from Lima to Rio. You can do a lot of sponanaity in four months while still having a specific date to be somewhere. Same with in Europe, where I'll be a bit more flexible as I'll have a 30 day window. Must keep in mind that the Trans Siberian Railway needs to be included in this though. So even with said deadlines, there's still months inbetween where I am very open.

I look at the map on my wall with all the lines and cities circled and have a hard time thinking how I can even consider being so disorganized.

"What do you mean I have four months to get from Lima to Rio?? Where's the hour by hour schedual?!"

Ok, I'm not that bad, but I do know people who are. Kelly, you listening? I swear I gave that girl grey hair when we carpooled to University for a few years. She was one of those types that would plan her day down to the minute at times, so if I wasn't ready to go by a certain time, she would get a bit anxious. I do believe she's gotten better though. Lets just say my doddling at times was a little payback for her hyper-induced enjoyment of pushing my hazard lights button on the car while stopped at red lights. . . and then having a burst of the giggles because of it.

Ah, good times.

So what is everyone else's opinion on this? How much planning would you put into it? Would you fly by the seat of your pants the entire way, no plan, no itinerary? Would you be the exact opposite, planning every flight, bus, train, hotel, destination, before you even leave? Or would you do what I've done, a mixture of the two; planning the real big ticket items, but leaving time inbetween to be spontaneous and fly by the seat of your pants?

Myself, I don't think I am running the risk of overplanning.

Although, I could be overthinking things. I do tend to do that as well.

But that's a story for another day.

1 comment:

  1. Well I'll give you my take.

    I'm typically the plan everything kind of guy, but for this trip I've made an effort to do the exact opposite.

    Most of the planning things I did, like setting certain times in particular countries, I've been unhappy with. Would have liked to have spent MUCH more time in New Zealand and Tasmania for example.

    For another example, I knew nothing about Malaysia, and assumed I would fly into Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days before moving on. I've been in Malaysia for 3 weeks now :)

    I chose to stay away from an RTW ticket because of the time limits and the rules, but I understand that the costs can be quite a bit less.

    I say, fly by the seat of your pants!