I love to travel, but I’m an unenthusiastic travel planner. I’m that asshole who lets my travel buddies do the research while I show up with Venmo and a smile. From my perspective, this is a great thing. People who love to plan travel get to do what they love to do and I get to do what I love to do, which is nothing. #asshole.
Upside, I’m usually game for whatever gets planned even though that sometimes means I have to do hiking, walk across rickety bridges over roaring rapids, or go snorkeling during killer jellyfish season.
Insult to injury, I had to do hiking on ice and snow.
Rickety bridge in Torres Del Paine in Chile.
The Great Barrier Reef. They swore this suit would save me from certain jellyfish-related death. Photo credit: Doug Tischler
Traveling with friends is almost the only time you will ever get me into an Art Museum or an big, old stone church. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate art and old buildings where women were routinely abused and/or excluded as much as the next guy. It’s just not an area of keen interest in my life.
(Don’t @ me, art and god lovers! I respect and support your right to stare at old paintings and light candles to your heart's content.)
When left to my own devices while traveling, I can be counted on to wander around without knowing what I’m looking at. Sometimes this ends with me being hopelessly lost in Osaka.
But other times I have grand adventures, like that time I accidentally milked 138 cows.
Or, the time I discovered a tiny, unattended farmhouse/museum in middle of upper Manhattan 2001. It was right between a C-Town grocery store and Kennedy Fried Chicken. Admission was $1 that you left in a cigar box on the front table.
David Sedaris once said about Paris:
"I mean, I think so many people come here and they feel like they have to do certain things because somebody told them to do it, or they're going to go home and people will say, what do you mean you didn't see the Pantheon? What do you mean you didn't go into the Louvre?”
The last time I was in Paris, I met up with my friend, Gina, on Bastille Day. We made no plans. Instead, we walked until we felt like drinking, then drank until we felt like walking. Add an impromptu bateau ride and you pretty much have my favorite way to do Paris.
Sur le bateau.
I like the no plan plan. Even though it sometimes backfires.
Just last week, I visited Prince Edward Island, Canada for Island Fringe. An errand to Staples that should have taken 45 minutes, warped into a 3-hour odyssey on a city bus. I somehow missed my stop, tried to hoof it, and the GPS guided me on a circuitous route through an unpopulated and very murder-y part of town only to deposit me behind the Staples building. Upside: only $2, Canadian!
“You have arrived at Staples!” Fuck you, Siri.
The day was saved by this lobster roll and local beer from The Chip Shack.
My tourist adventures around PEI greatly improved when Barbara and Joanna showed up (planners, obvi). My shows were at night, so during the day we tooled around the Island in a rented car to visit red sand beaches, historic lighthouses, and the Anne of Green Gables house.
Northumberland Provincial Park, PEI.
Point Prim, PEI (View from the lighthouse).
Ah, but the unplanned detours brought great delights as well.
We stopped into a small shop to get directions and found a treasure trove of weird and delightful Canadian sweets. We couldn’t resist sampling “Thrills Gum” when we saw the tagline: “Still tastes like soap!”
Spoiler: it tastes like soap.
On our last full day, we drove past a berry farm and ended up spending an hour picking raspberries and strawberries.
Obligatory pic in front of huge, anthropomorphized strawberry.
Me trying to take credit for picking all these berries. Lies. I picked like 6 of them.
All this cost about $15. Canadian ($11 USD).
For a City Mouse like me, this was like walking on the moon.
Are you a travel super planner? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Let me know! And do share this with other planning or non-planning pals!