My whole life I have been a planner. I am not so good at the spontaneous. I am more comfortable when I know how things are going to go before I even get there. In the past couple years, however, I have been doing a lot of traveling and I have discovered, I’m not a big fan of actually planning the trip. I love going on the trip and I like to have an idea of what we are going to do. But sitting down and figuring it all out? Not my favorite thing. Which is so weird because usually I love that kind of thing. Oh well. Who ever said I have to make sense?
When we went to Thailand, we were meeting up with a friend of ours and he ended up doing most of the planning. (Yay!) All I had to do was show up and have a good time. We had tentative plans for what we would be doing in each of the cities and solid plans for when we would be in each city. Those plans started changing before we even got to Thailand. Flight delays made it so we weren’t even in Bangkok at the time our next flight was leaving for Krabi. Once we got to Bangkok, we decided to spend the night and catch a flight for Krabi the next day. (Thank goodness the flights didn’t cost very much!) Once we made it to Krabi, we had several options for what we wanted to do each day. Generally, each evening we made plans for the next day, sometimes we waited until the morning to plan it out. Normally that kind of spontaneity would not sit well with me. But I was laying in a hammock on the beach in Thailand so it didn’t bother me at all. I told the guys, “As long as we go to an elephant sanctuary before we leave, I’m cool with any plans you make.”
The first day we wanted to hike Dragon Crest Trail (Khao Ngon Nak). We rented scooters and drove about 40 minutes to get there. When we arrived, the trail was closed because of the rain from the night before. Did I mention we were there at the beginning of the rainy season? So we drove back and decided we would visit Monkey Beach on the Phi Phi Islands, which was one of the places at the top of our list. By the time we got to the dock, the ferry had left and it would be several hours before the next one came. So we had to figure out what to do instead—visit a different island? Go explore for a little while until the ferry we needed arrived? We decided to visit one of the other islands where we spent time on Phra Nang Beach and Railay Beach. They were gorgeous. Dale and JD found a place to hike for a bit and went past all of the “Danger, do not climb” signs. We went swimming, ate at a nice restaurant, and even saw some monkeys on the way back toward the boats. We had started heading back when we noticed storm clouds rolling in. By the time we got to the boats, it was pouring. The wind was blowing so hard that a coconut fell out of a tree and almost hit JD on the head. We were running to the boats with everyone else that needed a ride back to the mainland. The wind was so strong and it was raining so hard, many of us crammed into the restaurant to wait it out for a little while. Once it calmed down a smidge, we made our way out to the boats and had a cold, wet ride back. All in all, it turned out to be a great day.
The next day we drove back to Dragon Crest Trail and were able to do the hike. It was a difficult hike. Steep and rocky most of the way. But I had never hiked in a jungle before and I saw so many new things. On the way back down, we stopped and cooled off in a pool of water. This day actually went according to plan, albeit a day later than expected.
The following day we made it to the Phi Phi Islands. We only had so much time to spend there because the last ferry back left at 3. We floated the idea of sleeping on the beach, but we had plane tickets to Chiang Mai that evening and that’s where the elephant sanctuary was so it would put a wrench in things if we stayed overnight. Once we were on the island, we had to figure out how to get to Monkey Beach. We considered renting kayaks and even haggled for some before we realized that wouldn’t leave us much time to spend on the beach playing with monkeys. So we decided to ride a longboat over there. On the ride there, we realized we definitely could have made good time with the kayaks, but too late now. Once the man secured the boat, he asked us if we wanted to snorkel too, it was included in the price we paid for the boat. Neat! We went to the beach for a while and saw the monkeys, then returned to the boat and snorkeled. Dale and I had never done it before. It was so cool!
Then we made it back to the dock in time to catch our ferry. We went back to our rooms, packed everything up and called a taxi, the whole time we were talking about how much we loved it here and how much we weren’t ready to leave yet. We were in the taxi, on the way to the airport, and JD told us that he looked into it and there’s a small elephant sanctuary in town and one on one of the islands close by. Really? On the way to the airport you decide to bring this up? We all looked at each other and decided, yeah, we are really doing this. We asked the taxi driver to turn around. We were able to get our same rooms back and stay another two nights. The next day we went to the elephant sanctuary in town and had a blast. If you want to read more about that, check out my post about it here.
It was the most spontaneous, up in the air trip I’d ever been on and I loved it. We had so much fun every day. We got to try so many new foods and the weather was great. After that storm, it didn’t rain during the day again until the day we were leaving to fly home. We got to see so many new and interesting things and spend some quality time with each other.
The lack of planning didn’t interfere with the amount of fun we had, it just rearranged our activities and gave us the opportunity to add things to our list. I know that in many cases, the lack of planning could have led to a disaster or possibly missing out on what we really wanted to do, but in this case, it worked out really well. And it has helped me loosen up on my trips since then.
Have you had any successful or disastrous trips as a result of lack of planning? Tell me about it in the comments!