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The Inukshuk travel diary 'Inukshuk' is a stone landmark traditionally used by Inuits to 'point the way' to travellers who might embark on the same path. Similarly, my aim is to provide useful insight into the exciting opportunities awaiting those with adventurous mindsets.

Spontaneous vs Planned Travel

ITALY | Tuesday, 20 August 2013 | Views [617]

Let me just say from the outset which side of this debate I sit on.  Spontaneous travel is WAY more fun.

Please don't think that I'm suggesting you don't plan at least some part of your holiday/trip in advance.  Let's start with the essentials: dates, airline tickets, first night's accommodation and .... well, that's pretty much it.  Whilst not having the security of knowing where you are going to stay is a scary thought, spontaneous travel allows you to shape the type of experience you WANT rather than worryng about sticking to the plan.

Exhibit 1: Plans don't always go according to plan.

Whilst I was travelling through Italy, a country I adore for it's amazing food, wine, landscapes and of course, eye candy, I made a couple of serious logistical mistakes.  These mistakes ensured that my final memories are marred by blunders and unflattering experiences.  And it was all because I had a plan I was supposed to stick to.

So there I was in Venice.  Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  I was saying goodbye to the group of girls I'd been travelling with.  We'd been staying on an island near the old town of Venice, which ensured a pleasant escape from the narrow, crowded streets of the central city.  I was due to change my accommodation to a smaller hotel closer to the mainland but still within floating Venice.  I caught the ferry with my friends and we went our separate ways at the Bridge of Sighs.  I had a paper map in my hand but my phone was on international roaming so I wasn't prepared to brave the costs of google maps.  Rookie error.  

It was around 2pm and I was due to check in at the hotel any time after 3.  So, off I went, towing 15 kg of luggage behind me.  Having been in Venice for 7 days, I was fairly confident with my navigational abilities and I was interested in exploring some back streets of Venice along the way.  Rookie error number two.  Duh, Venice is a maze.  Two hours later and I was still wandering the back streets of Venice.  Every now and then, I called upon my broken Italian to ask for directions to a Hotel that most people had never heard of.  Venecians, apparently, do not wander the back streets of Venice.  I was mostly asking tourists.

During my walk I passed numerous hotels, many with vacancy signs a top.  But, for the life of me, I could not find the alleyway that housed my destination.  I continued walking.  Eventually, I came close to the major bus stop with direct routes to the Airport.  I was exhausted by this point, not to mention I had to be up early for my flight to Rome in the morning.  I decided to cut my losses and take a room at the nearest hotel, which turned out to be super close and affordable. 

Now, there are so many things that I could have done to avoid that situation.  One of them is planning better, yes I'll admit it.  But, the simple fact is, if I had no plan and no arranged accommodation, I would have settled for a hotel much sooner without the stress of trying to figure out where mine was.  Believe me, save the time wasted on planning and just go with the flow.  Venice looks a whole lot more beautiful when you're not desperatley searching for familiar streets, or carrying a stack of belongings mind you.


Tags: backpacking, italy, lost, venice, wander

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