What happened to the gap year travellers who left with a one-way ticket and no concrete plans in mind? What happened to the backpackers who would check out a hostel in person and decide on the spot whether they would stay? Guys! What happened to the adventure?!
On a recent adventure to Bali, Indonesia, I turned up at Nusa Lembongan, (an island off the coast of Bali) without a hostel booking, without knowing what I would find, or deciding what I wanted to do while there. I just liked the description of the island in my old guidebook and it seemed like a cool place to spend a few days.
On the boat coming over, I began a conversation with an Australian backpacker. She asked me what I was planning to do on the Island and where I was staying. My response of ‘I don’t know, I just liked the sound of the place’ and a shrug returned quite a funny look from her and the conversation fizzled down to nothing. The funny thing is, I bumped into a few times on the Island, doing all the same activities as if I had planned the trip too, I wasn’t missing out on anything by travelling spontaneously.
So why did this happen? When did planning a trip down to the day (or hour) become the norm? The easiest place to point the finger would be the internet. As well as booking the accommodation for my trip months in advance and researching the best restaurants on Trip Advisor, I could also hop on google maps, toggle on the street view and walk around the nearby streets as if I was there. I could book all activities, search all the best Insta-worthy locations and look up google images to see exactly what each destination would look like before I ever set foot there. And chances are that when I set foot there for real, I’d feel let down, having hyped up the place in your mind and seen it from every angle from my laptop.
Like opening our Christmas presents for a peek in November, or flicking to the last pages of a good novel before reading it, we are ruining our own travel experiences by over searching our future trips. Yes, blogs like this is partly to blame for the problem, which is why I’ll never go into huge details of my travels. They’re a peek, to inspire you to go to new places, but I’ll never tell you which restaurants to visit, which hotels to stay at. You’ll never find a detailed itinerary on this site. Because that’s not how I want you to travel. I want you to discover it for yourself.
So next time you travel, let go, play it by ear and see what comes your way, the way we used to.