Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stop and Smell the Plumeria

Where is the balance between making plans and being spontaneous?  I'm certain there must be some foundation of plans laid, but as I have discovered, it is also important to follow the moment to discover unanticipated bonuses.  The beauty of travel is not just in checking off the landmark destinations.  Seen that.  Seen that.  Seen that. The trick is to keep yourself open to the unique experiences which can happen along the way as a gift from the stars.

A cruise is a delightful way to travel.  I'm convinced it is one of the best travel values around.  On its short list of frustrations, however, lies the pressure of seeing a port-of-call within a narrowly defined margin of time.  What if that small window of opportunity is affected by inclimate weather, or high winds, or choppy seas?  There will always be variables.  How one handles those variables is the test of a true world traveler.

I'm learning to broaden my scope, dismiss disappointment sooner and replace it with the promise of the unplanned.  Some of my best experiences have been when itineraries were tossed and spontaneity prevailed.

I won't pretend that I have always possessed this skill.  After one too many tsunami blows, I cracked.  How many times can one turn the other cheek?  How dare this intangible succeed in ruining my vacation which I had so carefully planned!  One can only lick one's wounds and drown one's sorrows in cheeseburgers and milkshakes so long.  Then it is time to shift one's thinking, learn a lesson or two, and press forward.

And I did.  And I had a wonderful time!

I did not plan to ride a scooter along the Kona coast on the Big Island of Hawaii.  And yet I did!

I even brought along snorkel gear so I could stop at the beaches along the way.

Brian and I even stumbled upon our best meal of the trip at the suggestion of the scooter rental guy:  The Fish Hopper in Kona.  The pictures are blurry, but you get the idea...

I did not plan on kayaking a jungle river.  And yet I did!

(I look like such a grandma, huh?)
I didn't plan to hike to a waterfall.  But I did that too.

And I didn't plan on swimming under a Hawaiian waterfall, but the stars aligned and I was able to cross this one off my bucket list.  Something I have always wanted to do...

It may not always come naturally, but I'm leaving myself open to the possibilties that present themselves unexpectedly.  Maybe our "bucket lists" should include a few "yet to be defined" features.  Maybe fate's guiding hand will be our most interesting travel guide.  Will we be willing to let outside forces illuminate our paths and direct our footsteps?  I hope so.  It can sure turn out to be a lot of fun.


Nancy said...

You did so much in the week you were does truly look like an adventure!!!

Kim said...

I love new adventures! I'm glad you tried something new and enjoyed what you tried!

5Youngers said...

What adventures you had. I have always wanted to swim under a tropical waterfall. I love all of your pictures and your story telling.

Laura said...

What a fun vacation!! You rock!!

neffie said...

Awesome! I'm like you, I plan an itinerary. I want to be able to do everything! But I concur about being able to let the itinerary fly out the window and go with the flow. What a grand adventure.