Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

P is for Plans

Day 15 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad

This is a post about plans, or, better, the lack thereof. As I quickly mentioned yesterday, when being a nomad, plans can be more of a hinder than a help. I know that sounds counterproductive, but I have learned from experience that it is better to not have too many plans when roaming about the world.

We only planned to visit Mexico by camper...

We only planned to visit Mexico by camper…

Yet, we all need some kind of direction or goal when we start a trip or a new lifestyle. We want to be able to grasp what we will do and make a plan. Plans are fine, as long as you are flexible and aware that many circumstances could alter that perfect disposition. If you are stubborn as a traveler and adamant about following your pre-set schedule and itinerary, disappointment might follow, and that, in turn, might ruin your experience or mood. It is better to “take it as it comes” when things just don’t seem to go as planned. Being relaxed about change and unexpected events is a mindset that doesn’t always come easy, nor is the idea of setting out without ever knowing what will be next…

I can’t help but make some plans whenever I go on a trip, and that comes with certain anticipation. I used to call it plantification. And, each time things didn’t go the way I hoped for (which happens a lot when you cruise on your own sailboat), I would be disappointed and scold myself for expecting too much or think all would go smoothly, once again. It just is a part of our life to want to be in control of it. But, being adventurous and searching out the unknown, invites quite the opposite! “Plans are written in sand, at low tide” a sailing adage goes. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” is another quote based on this reality. “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best” sounds a bit too negative, and while I believe in the “No is what you have, yes is what you can get” attitude when trying to obtain certain things, I prefer the “Go with the flow” or “See what happens” motto!

Because of our flexibility and lack of plans, Mark and I have been able to extend every venture we started. Going with the flow has kept us in a camper and on a boat longer than we ever expected. With our camper in 2005-2006, we planned to visit Mexico and we ended up driving all the way across the Panama Canal and back to Texas in the span of one year. With our sailboat Irie, we intended to sail to the Bahamas in 2008 and never dreamed about setting out into the Pacific Ocean. In both situations, we exceeded any goals we had in mind and that attitude alleviated any stress related to starting out with big all-consuming plans. While we (I) do still plantificate, we are happier and better off when we keep that to a minimum!

Are you someone who likes to make plans and stick to them? What is your plan/intention for the next five years? Which circumstances might throw those plans off?

Leave a comment, like us on Facebook and stay tuned for the next installment of my  A-Z Blogging Challenge tomorrow: “Q is for Quality (of Life)”.



  1. Well yes I make plans, all the time, as I’m getting older I’ve realized that you cannot achieve 100% of it and started not to stress about it too much. 5 years… didn’t think that far I’ll let you know 🙂 There is always something sudden that happens, I try to cover all by thinking ahead from flat tire to apocalypse 😀 that annoys my husband but I’m sure it is always better to be safe than sorry 🙂 Great post!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Zeljka. It is such a tough toss-up between thinking ahead and still failing to anticipate “everything” and just taking it day by day, expecting something sudden to happen. Better safe than sorry is a good train of thought, especially because planning for the possibly expected helps in case of the impossibly unexpected! 🙂

  2. As someone who also loves travel, this planning issue bites. Actually, my husband is the planner for any of our trips. He makes extensive notes and builds an itinerary that takes us well off those well-traveled places. We have a saying, “Don’t rattle the suitcase,” because we’re both eager to travel. So your discussion today appeals. That road trip in a camper south sounds fabulous. But we are now at the stage when travel is less possible. I don’t regret a single trip for now we have memories.

    • The planning topic is a difficult and sometimes “painful” one, for sure. It is somewhat of a catch 22 as well. Sorry to hear that travel is less possible at this stage, Beth. Glad to read that you have so many lovely memories and that the internet lets you travel vicariously through others! 🙂

  3. I love the term – planifitication! Going with the flow is so important when you lead a nomadic life, because things often don’t go as planned. You may miss other great opportunities because you’re so focused on your plans. It’s a lesson I need to remind myself of from time to time.

    • And, living from day to day is often easier said than done. We all need to plan at least a little bit while on the road, whether it is because of the weather, the season, the company, the highlights of a country or finances. But, living in the now is definitely the best approach to enjoyment. 🙂

  4. I used to have a daily plan on a spreadsheet for vacations (including what to eat for each meal!), but because I never ever follow the plan, I’ve become a lot more laid back about planning. Our boat’s motto is a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. If we’re hitting one or more of those points, I’m happy!

    • You are so fortunate be able to stick to your motto, Lucy! I love it! I used to make a schedule for trips as well, when I was younger (minus the meals), because I would not want to miss out on anything. I often found that the list was not the issue, but the lack of time and my unrealistic expectations to do too much. I still have this issue by the way. The days are always too short, no matter what I do and where I am (except at the dentist).

  5. Nice post. I’m a procrastinator, not a planner; wrote about a similar concept under C is for Calendar. But non-planner applies only to our own boat, so speaking of plans, our Spanish tallship El Galeon will be in Newburyport toward the end of May. If you’re still in town we’d love to have you come aboard for a tour! — Jaye from Life Afloat

  6. I like to make plans because I’m a bit of a research geek and they point us in a general direction. After that, it’s all about going with the flow!


  7. When we travel, we like to have general plans, an idea for the day. Sometimes even that light planning can lead to frustration. Usually, we roll with things, happy to be out experiencing something new. Life plans are different. We are less fluid there. In five years, we plan to have our boys well into college and be moved to the eastern coast of the United States. We even have a general area in mind. I’m not going out on a limb by saying if that gets upended, I won’t be happy

    • Good for you to be able to take your travels “as they come”. While I am a strong advocate for that, I sometimes do struggle with the lack of control. Taking a deep breath and going with the flow causes the least frustration, for sure. I’m excited to read about your move, Ryan. Now you have me curious about which area you have in mind….

      • Should I keep it a secret? Nah, that’s no fun. I have a deep love for New Hampshire and we are planning a move to the area around Lake Winnipesaukee. I’m partial to Wolfeboro, but that land is a bit pricey. There are many lakes around that region, and one of them will surely fit the bill.

        • That’s awesome, Ryan! We have friends who live at a lake in New Hampshire, a bit north of the border with Massachusetts. I would recommend a lake that doesn’t allow motorized traffic (like jet skis…), if you like your peace. 🙂

  8. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans – John Lennon.

  9. blkbtslonglegs

    April 19, 2016 at 20:51

    I don’t necessarily like to make plans, but when I do make plans I stick to them! That said, we plan our summer camping vacations several months in advance because we have to book our dogs into doggie daycare and it fills up quickly. I wish that we could take them with us when we camp, but I think that they are happier at daycare. It would be quite stressful and too hot for them, particularly our older dog.

    Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

    • Or, you try to stick to them. 🙂 Planning is definitely necessary in many cases, when booking flights and accommodations for example, or to get cheaper rates, or arrange doggie daycare. Have you thought about “hiring” a house and pet sitter, Tracy? That is totally free and your dogs can stay in their home environment that way. If you’d like more info about that (it is what we are doing, but on the other end of things, right now), let me know.

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