||VAWN HIMMELSBACH, Chic Savvy Travels
You step off the plane in Bangkok and you’re hit with 40 C heat and high humidity, and you have to deal with a 12-hour time change after sitting in a middle seat for half a day of your life beside someone who was snoring like a grizzly bear. And your tummy isn’t feeling so great.
That day, you had planned on seeing the Great Palace, Wat Po and the Emerald Buddha, followed by a wander around the night market and a Muay Thai fight at Lumpini Stadium. When all you really want to do at that moment is go for a Thai massage, eat some spring rolls and take a nap.
There are plenty of reasons why we travel. Perhaps we’ve had a lifelong dream to hike the Inca Trail in Peru or see the Taj Mahal in India. And if that’s your dream, it makes sense to start planning for it so you can make it happen. But don’t forget to leave some flexibility in your schedule — because over-planning can make travel feel more like a chore than an adventure. I’ve met plenty of people who felt guilty while they were traveling because they didn’t feel like going to a certain museum or cathedral.
I understand that, because I’ve been there. The first time I went to India, it was during the hottest months of the year, and I was cranky and miserable in the 45 C heat. In Delhi, I spent a good chunk of time wrapping myself in a wet sarong and lying underneath the ceiling fan in my hotel room or seeking out an air-conditioned restaurant. I had been planning to take the train to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, but the truth was, I just didn’t feel like it.
So I decided to retreat to the Indian Himalayas. But I felt guilty about skipping out on the Taj Mahal, like somehow I wasn’t a “real” traveler if I couldn’t handle a bit of hot weather.
Turns out, I fell head over heels for the village of Dharamsala, which is home to the Tibetan government in exile. I stayed in a $6-a-night guesthouse surrounded by a rose garden, where I could hear nuns chanting in the nunnery across the street (usually while eating something chocolate from the nearby Chocolate Log bakery).
Sure, I didn’t see the Taj Mahal. But I did get to see the Dalai Lama — something I had never planned for, and had never even thought possible. It was one of the best moments of my life.
Fast-forward to 2010. I went back to India with a traveling book club and got to see the Taj Mahal — and I was in the right frame of mind to actually appreciate it. And yeah, it was pretty amazing.
Travel, of course, does require some planning. But don’t be afraid to change your plans at the last minute or do something completely spontaneous. It just may end up being the best part of your trip.
Date Added: April 30, 2011 | Comments (0)
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