Wonder//

The Single Best Piece of Travel (and life) Advice I’ve Ever Received

“No plan is the best plan”


It was May of 2015 and I had just embarked on my post-college-solo-trip-around-the-world. I was excited, elated, and happy, yes, but I was also scared out of my mind. I had no idea what my future looked like, and this is a riveting thought.

The first stop on my solo journey was Perissa Beach, Santorini, Greece where I met a man who unknowingly changed my life with one sentence.

“I’ve been traveling for over thirty years and I have never pre-booked accommodation.”

This made absolutely no sense to me at the time. It was said by a man named Dave, who owned the restaurant across the street from the hostel where I was staying. Dave had invited me to stay in Santorini for some upcoming events and opportunities, but I lamented that I already had my ferry and accommodation booked to the island of Paros so I couldn’t stay around. He then drilled it into my head that this pre-booking and planning was a rookie traveler mistake, but the thought of not knowing where I would lay my head the next night made me want to book the next flight home to mommy and daddy — it was terrifying!

Fast forward less than two years later and I can finally understand what his bold statement means. I slowly put his travel advice into practice and now my travel mantra is, “no plan is the best plan” because I know, from experience, that having no plan truly is the best plan.

This is the case for travel but also for life. What I’ve realized is having a plan limits you. Take for example this time I was traveling in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia and I had no idea what my next move was going to be. With my blank-slate future ahead of me, I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime — travel around the Komodo archipelago on a 53 meter Phinsi yacht for a week, for free. Ok! I was able to take this opportunity for two reasons…

First, all of the other people that were asked prior to me couldn’t go because they had a flight out of Bali in three days, already booked a weeks worth of accommodation on Lombok, or had a ferry reservation to the Gili Islands.

Second, I had no where to be, besides on the vessel of my dreams.

Once I realized that there is nothing to fear in the unknown, I wasn’t so consumed with figuring out my future and in turn, opened myself up to countless opportunities that life presented to me.

I also realized that even when I do take precious moments of this beautiful life to attempt to plot out my future, stress about when the next paycheck is coming in, or how I will figure out a problem I can forsee arising in 3 months from now, usually none of it even actualizes. I realize later (hindsight is always 20/20 right?) that I royally wasted my most precious resource, time, worrying and planning about things that never even happen.

This guy said it perfectly,

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” — Mark Twain

The present is a present, and I am happy I have the experience, confidence, and courage to now truly embrace it. “No plan is the best plan” isn’t about being a young, irresponsible traveler — it’s about taking control of the moment, instead of wasting time attempting to control the future.

Originally published at medium.com

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Wisdom//

When the Life of a Life Coach Blows Up

by Marlene Mier
Unplug & Recharge//

How to Travel Solo to the Most Romantic Destinations on Earth

by Erica Bray
Community//

Why I Don’t Regret Walking Away from the Career I Thought I Wanted

by Robin Young Burinskiy

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.