The Power of the Pencil

How do you like to travel? Backpack or wheelie bag? Book it all, or just the first few days?

When we travel we like backpacks and we always book the first night’s hotel in a new city. Most importantly though, we plan the rest of the trip all in pencil. This allows us to twist and turn as the winds of life circumstances blow. It doesn’t mean we don’t have intentionality when we travel, we certainly do, but we don’t book ahead because you never know what could be coming.

A few years ago we were sitting around a gelato shop on the island of Milos talking about our then-current travel situation and laughing at how we travel. You see we had booked flights and landed on Milos, but the accommodation we had booked didn’t have room for us until two nights after our arrival. We decided to take the chance that maybe someone would cancel and we could get in early, but no one did and the island was flush with tourists. After a few hours of searching for a place to stay, we found ourselves spending the next two nights in a fisherman’s hut by the ocean. A small, inexpensive and very rustic hut, right on the sea where we could hear and feel the waves coming to shore. It was an amazing find that came about walking into the unknown and truly represents exactly what “our kind of adventure” means to us.

When we began considering our year off we just knew we wanted a change, and we wanted to travel. We had lots of ideas written on our brainstorming board that revolved around places we had always wanted to go, people to see, or events we just couldn’t attend when we are working. We created a whole list of possibilities.

Then, our year began last July and we found all we had planned in pen was Eastern Canada, Iceland, and an Arcade Fire concert in Milan. Our bookings took us to September 18. But in pencil, we had Tunisia, Bali and Santiago and this became the framework for our year.

And so how has it worked out so far? Well those pencil notes have acted like beacons as we travel the world. Not goalposts, but lighthouses guiding us across the waves to the next destination. We have visited with friends and family we haven’t seen in years, been able to experience and photograph some of the most talked about sites in history, made last-minute plans to enjoy the annual traditions of countries and explored countries in ways we had only dreamed about. By planning in pencil we have allowed ourselves to make last-minute decisions based on conversations with strangers, interests, life events, or instincts and it’s worked out pretty well so far.

Canada, Iceland, Italy, Tunisia, Dubai, Egypt, Jordan, Vienna, Bali, Tokyo, Singapore, New Zealand. Each of these in their own right is “the trip of a lifetime”, and we have been fortunate to have one trip of a lifetime after another for 10 months.

For us, #ourkindofadventure reminds us to do what we love and live in the moment. We have intentions, we strive to make the most of our experiences, we don’t get (too) fussed when what we thought would happen, doesn’t. Planning in pencil pushes us to live in the unknown. From experience, it is not the most economical way of going, but for us that ability to set a new direction based on what we have heard, seen, or become curious about is priceless, and we wouldn’t have it in any other way.


1 Comment

  1. Thank you for documenting the journey. It’s been a joy following the adventures of you three and I’m sure that just the tip of the proverbial iceberg! TZ

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