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The (Conflicted) Happy Wanderer – Daily Prompt

What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

(http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/daily-prompt-the-happy-wanderer/)

I saw this prompt on my reader and was instantly hit with war-like flashbacks. Days of being in the trenches of Google Maps, scouring Trip Advisor for trip advice, and bookmarking anything I could potentially find useful. The “eight best types of mushrooms to eat in Europe” is probably something I’ll never need but I panicked and bookmark it “just in case!” Oh what grounds would I ever need to know the best types of mushrooms in Europe?

To answer the question (the prompt not the mushroom one), my travel style is caught between planning addict and spontaneity. It is the strange marriage between being paranoid as all hell before leaving and then once arriving, saying “fuck it” to months and months of planning. It’s a vicious, rather useless cycle that I always get caught in.

I even plan for trips that most likely aren’t going to happen. Look at this one for example:

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You know where I live now. This is like a trust exercise.

This picture has been rotting on my desktop for five months already. Dare we ask when this road trip to Texas and New Orleans will happen? Summer of 2016. Yes that’s right ladies and gentleman, without the knowledge of my travel mates (my two roomies) I have gone and planned what we will be doing on our last summer together.

I hope they like BBQs and cowboys.

When actually travelling though everything is off the table. While most of my current travel experiences involve trying to run away in Athens from my own family and being forced to go shopping for five hours instead of exploring some of the most beautiful places in the world, when I do travel with friends we just run with it. Quebec City was complete guess work where our plans consisted of either myself or my two friends Jayan and Steven mentioning something cool we saw and then just doing it.

While on Île d’Orléans we saw this cute little (very empty) cafe on the roadside. It was the kind of place that had an identity crisis between five different restaurants all at once. Out front there was an ice cream stand, inside a restaurant, and then tucked away was their little cafe/preserves shop. We stopped there to grab something to drink, and I got a green tea to sip on after stuttering my way through offensively broken French. After that my friends and I just sat there staring out at the view of Québec.

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I can say without hesitation that it was one of the most relaxing moments I’ve had in years. The weather was windy but warm, a small weathered art-filled cottage sat off to our right, and a small forest to our left. It was a surreal place where everything just melted into the background for twenty minutes. I claimed the land nearest the water as where I was going to put my summer home, and Jayan took the field. We were going to become french woodsmen and part-time art dealers!

The trend continued throughout our time on the island. We climbed up a random observation tower and used their equally as random playground, that probably hadn’t seen kids in eons, to inflict agonizing pain on Steven with the seesaw. We stopped at artisan bakeries, cider tasting stores that had geriatric wards shuffling through tours, and oil dealers in the old french villages all while imagining that we were the first settlers who had step foot on the island. The irony is not lost on me that the first settlers couldn’t have had fig balsamic tasting sessions. Finally, we walked along the shore as people wind surfed in the E. Coli infested waters (they should have mentioned that before we showed up to Baie De Beauport in bathing suits and towels only to be laughed at).

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I find that while planning is soothing and fun to do, when going on a trip the best thing is just to let things happen. Travel shouldn’t be something you need a vacation from. We spend most of our lives on schedules and hurrying to meet deadlines and the point of leaving home is to get away from all that. Sure, have fun and get excited by planning out what you want to happen because often it gives you great ideas, but if an opportunity arises be sure your plans are flexible enough to take it.

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The starting point

First of all, welcome. The fact that you are looking at this page means somehow you’ve come to this strange corner of the internet and found yourself saying, “well this isn’t the IKEA homepage, is it?” For those who have made that mistake, I have included a link to IKEA to get you back on track to buy the Lugnvik sofa bed and chaise lounge combo.

For those of you who are here with a purpose in mind, I will do my best to make it worth your while. This blog will exist primarily as a place for me to talk about the events in my life I feel the need to un-clutter (which would have been useful years ago while going through adolescence with a Justin Beiber-inspired haircut), taking on too many hobbies that I am not at all that good at (vegetarian cooking, soap making, drawing, being a tasteless cheese connoisseur) as well as my geeky musings (the North Remembers!), and finally but perhaps most importantly this blog will act as my diary as I embark on an eight month journey abroad.

And you thought I was kidding about the Bieber hair.

And you thought I was kidding about the Bieber hair.

Oh yes, I will take you along as I no doubt get drugged at a bar and skinned into a people suit—according to my mother—while going on a five month exchange to Madrid and then travelling for three months through Europe alone. As someone who is barely capable of driving down the road to get the mail without getting lost… my mother has about a 50% chance of being right and winning twenty dollars! So, she has that going for her.

Source: DVDactive

An accurate representation of what my mom thinks will happen to me.

As far as introductions go here is a quick list of things you should know about me. I like to answer all the awkward first date questions to get them out of the way. Here are some of the questions that I’ve been told you should never ask.

  • Do you want kids? Yes, I want kids.
  • Is that your natural hair colour? No, purple is not my natural hair colour. I was born squalling and slowly disintegrating in the early fall heat as my ginger skin peeled off from exposure to the sun.
  •  So why are you single? I have two exs that I know of, one of each gender. After the two-year relationship I decided to become a devout Satanist and devour the souls of innocents…. so dating has been put on the back burner for now I suppose.
  • Where do you see this relationship going? Hopefully towards reoccurring dates that end in one of us getting a restraining order.
  • My place or yours? Mine.

I promise though while sarcasm is my sickness that I also like to write serious pieces as well. To quote Ghost in the Shell, “overspecialize, and you breed in weakness” and I, in my obsession with taking on new experiences and hobbies, don’t want to pin myself as one type of blogger. That being said the blog will most likely be travel heavy, so consider this your gentle, loving warning.

I hope that you join me along for whatever lays ahead. I have no clue where anything is going to go… all I know is that, as my favourite author Chuck Palahniuk said:

“I want out of the labels. I don’t want my whole life crammed into a single word. A story. I want to find something else, unknowable, some place to be that’s not on the map. A real adventure.”