Sometimes on the blog I fear like I sound like a broken record. I feel like I’m always banging on about how I don’t tend to plan very much – whether it’s travelling around South East Asia or bumping around the backroads of Spain in a campervan – my typical travel style is the ‘let’s see what happens, shall we?’ variety.
But here I am again. I suddenly feel the same as I did in those moments as a recent situation reared up to potentially derail me. Instead, I just pulled the points lever and redirected my train.
Where are you going with this train analogy, Meg? I hear you ask
One thing travelling has put into perspective for me again recently is how you can’t predict it.
From disruption to your journey through transport cancellations, delays (or missed flights!) to meeting a great crew and changing your itinerary on a whim, plans always change.
Sometimes they happen naturally and it doesn’t even feel like you’re making a choice. Other times, events seem to conspire against you whilst you’re on the road and you have to make what feels like A Great Big Decision.
I recently flew to Perth, Western Australia. Plan A was loosely formed in my mind: find work for a few months, get a house share somewhere in the city.
Call it timing, call it luck or just call it plain frustrating but for whatever reasons I struggled to find work in Perth. I went to view a couple of rooms in shared houses but came away feeling that they weren’t quite what I was looking for so I kept paying for a bed in a hostel.
I’m pretty flexible in terms of the work I’ll try whilst travelling and so in the end I tried a commission based role in charity fundraising. Never say never, I told myself despite the reservations I had about the job. It wasn’t something I had ever seen myself doing, but it was for a great cause and who knew, maybe I’d be great at it.
It turned out I wasn’t.
By now I’d been in Perth a month and although I was enjoying the city I felt like I was failing to meet my own expectations. Clouds of negativity were rolling in and I was getting twitchy. This wasn’t how travelling was supposed to feel. Travelling was supposed to be an Instagram perfect picture of endless rosy joy, right?
That’s when the lightbulb moment happened.
If I felt like I wasn’t achieving my goals then why not move the goal posts? Or, back to my train analogy; change the course of my own journey by heading down another track. I’ve mentioned before about how I feel travelling is a pretty selfish activity. You are able to put yourself first and nourish yourself with the decisions you make and the things you do. I just had to remind myself of that. There was nothing holding me to Perth except my own stubborn mind-set.
As soon as shook off the shackles of Plan A I was greeted by the smiling face of Plan B.
Firstly, I reminded myself of exactly what I had come to Australia to do: travel. That boost of energy came in the form of a ten day tour from Perth up to Broome that took me to spectacular places such as Coral Bay to swim with manta rays and Karijini National Park to climb and swim in gorges.
Plan C involved hopping on a bus that took me roughly two hours north of Perth to work in a restaurant in a town called Jurien Bay. I may not have my city-based apartment with a gym in the basement, but I share a room in the hotel with a friend with the beach two minutes walk from my door.
So here I am, working and saving money for a few months and planning the next awesome adventure in Australia. Not in Perth as I’d first expected but somewhere where the locals are friendly and views are pretty.
So the next time I feel myself getting frustrated that things aren’t going the way I wanted them to I will remember that: if Plan A fails, there is always a Plan B waiting in the wings. No judgement.
This is your journey. So what if you take the scenic route or go on a detour?
Have you ever felt the same whilst travelling? Have you ever changed your plans entirely whilst on the road? Was it the right choice? Let me know if I’m not the only one!