A mysterious element hidden in the details
Also known as the ‘the devil is in the details’, although I might like to use the word mystery! Makes it sound like a puzzle or a problem which needs to be solved and if you pay attention to the details, then it can be done. Or the mystery is something which might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected. Basically the idea being conveyed is, whatever one does, should be done thoroughly. I like to also think of it in terms of; the path to success is lined with small tasks or details. In theory, anything in life, is as simple as that. In practice, is another matter.
When we dropped off our passports for renewal yesterday, the service specialist, (I don’t know what the people behind the counter are called, but it seems like an appropriate name for someone who controls the fate of your passport!), was informed of our year-long trip plans. She was shocked and excited for us, wanted to hear all the places we were going. I only got to mention the first 4 stops and she was too overjoyed to hear more.
One thing which really stuck out in my mind was the comment, “wow, you have really been planning this out”. That was after a short barrage of questions. The usual ones:
- Where are you going?
- For how long?
- Some kind of polite question about how the trip is being financed.
- Once it is clear our kids are joining, a question about their schooling.
It is almost as if, these questions and the lack of being able to answer them are the main reasons people don’t participate in long-term travel more often. When, in fact, these hurdles are the easiest ones to overcome.
The way I see it, within each of these first points are a bunch of details which need to be attended to. And these questions are intertwined with each other, predicated on the answers of the others. The final solutions are not as simple as they sound, when being recited back to strangers. So it is never fair to give pat responses to the inquiry of our own hopes and dreams, but convention demands it. (I need to get a business card printed so people can find out more at their leisure!)
In order to keep our whole operation on track, I use the app called Asana. The operative word here is ‘I’ use the app. My husband has a few tasks assigned to him, but his workflow doesn’t jive with this app so well. I have yet to get our kids set up, but I think they will convert once we are on the road and they need to track all their courses. But we could still revert back to a tried and true paper list. I have a few of those as well!
The point is to pick a method which works, otherwise this is where many people might run onto trouble. While there is a level of detailed research and planning involved in the first part – the defining the dream part, that is simply just the tip of the iceberg. If someone in the family, or group is not highly interested in managing details, there will be problems.
Even on my recent girls trip to Barcelona, we had many decisions to make. One of our girls, likes to research and pick restaurants. Along with that task, getting around town comes into it. And then, while we are already out that way, we could do this and see that. So even for a few days, there are many details to be thought of which make the experiences so memorable. But even with all the research, spontaneous stuff happens, which adds to the richness of travel. For example, there was no information online and no sign indicating that the area of the beach we picked was the place where people of all types went for full nudity. Puts a new spin on people watching!
Anyway, back to the notion of planning out this year of travel. Yes, it requires more effort than I had ever imagined. Basically, every aspect of your life needs to be analyzed, prioritized and classified. Because the way you are living now, will change on the road. Everything you assume and do almost automatically, will require more effort than usual. But, a bunch of chores, maintenance and boring routines will fall away. Most days will have a high element of novelty, if for no other reason than the surroundings will not be familiar.
If the romantic idea of a big trip sounds amazing, but creating the planning structure does not, give me a shout, I would be happy to help. No matter how close to home or short the trip is, having an easy planning process in your back pocket will make the experience even more enjoyable.