Screw the itinerary

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I’m a control freak, I admit that.  It should come as no surprise that I spent hours and hours researching places to go, how to get these, things to do and places to stay then organizing these things into different destinations on different days, along with the budgets that accompanied each place.  I spent a long time figuring out which places I would rather go over others and coming up with exactly three places to rest my head for the night in each locale.  It made me feel calm that I had a plan even though I knew there was a chance I would never look at it.

Somehow, despite my control freak ways, my desperate love for routine and organization, I haven’t even glanced at the itinerary that I spent so many hours working on.  I’ve stayed in places as long as I feel like, I’ve left them if I don’t want to stay there anymore.  Maybe (just maybe) I’m becoming a little more flexible.  Then again, maybe not.

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As I’ve found my way through Vietnam these last two weeks, I’ve grown weary of travelling.  I’m tired of waking up and having to figure out what I want to do that day; I’m tired of spending my days finding bus stations; I’m tired of fighting with travel agents; I’m tired of forgetting where I am or how long I’ve been there.

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I know what you’re thinking: then why did you choose to travel after you left Cambodia?  Mostly because I didn’t realize how life on the road would be.  I didn’t realize that I enjoy living somewhere else, not just being somewhere else; I like to get a feel of how life is lived in each place instead of how crazy the backpacker parties get; I like to have a specific reason to get up in the morning, not “I’ll find that museum today…maybe”.

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This is why I have decided to slow down and re-route myself.  In my original plan, I planned to have two weeks in Vietnam, a week in Laos and a week in Thailand.  After really thinking about my plan in Laos, I realized that I could only spend only one night in each of my destinations to stay on schedule.  Once that sunk in, I thought that a night in every place isn’t really enough time to experience everything, especially if I feel rushed.  On top of that, Laos and Thailand deserve more than just one week–there’s so much to do and see that I feel that my time would almost be wasted–not to mention that I would probably be exhausted–if I tried to travel through two countries in two weeks.

As of today, I am spending an extra week in Vietnam, seeing the sights of Hanoi, hanging out in coffee shops (as I am now) and going on a cruise of Halong Bay with a friend I made in Cambodia.  After that, I’ll head straight to Chiang Mai, Thailand, see some elephants, take a Thai cooking course, relax in Pai and then head to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok before flying to India where I won’t have to plan anything!  Plus, I can eat delicious Indian food all day!  Jealous?  Yeah, you are.

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Apologies dearest Laos, this is not the time for us to be together.  I hope the Internets aren’t too heartbroken over this revelation.

With all my love,
Meggo

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