Written by Tenon Travel Specialist Rachel Dorsey
Tapping into our company’s love of Ireland, Oscar Wilde is quoted saying “spontaneity is a meticulously planned art.” When planning journeys, Tenon Travel Specialists like myself walk that very fine line between making sure travelers see as many highlights as possible while also giving breathing room for a bit of unexpected fun.
During my own personal travels, some of my most delightful experiences popped up out having enough foresight to know approximately where and when I wanted to be somewhere but then going with the flow once there.
While living in Ennis, Ireland, I decided to spend the last weekend of October in Galway as I had never been there before. I had two amazing nights out as a solo traveler, listening to traditional music and meeting locals at the pubs. The proprietor of my B&B mentioned that I should stay another night to check out a parade that was on the following evening. I took her up on that offer, changed my plans, and made my way downtown on a dark Galway night. This “parade” was one of the most amazing spectacles I’ve ever witnessed. Put on by a theatrical troupe called Macnas, the streets were “spookified” by giant, lit horses carrying specters, live horn music and a massive floating head coming down the streets. It was stunning and to this day, I am so glad I decided to be spontaneous and spend another night. Sidenote: I fell in love with Galway on that visit and the nice lady at the B&B welcomed me back for two weeks later that fall.
My husband and I are avid professional cycling enthusiasts and decided to venture over to Spain in 2018 to see our first Grand Tour in person, La Vuelta a España. We meticulously went over maps to match up one of our stays to allow us to be in a central location for one of the race stages. We decided to spend three nights at a Parador in La Seu D’Urgell where the race would pass downtown on our first full day and then planned on exploring nature the second full day. The excitement of the helicopters and the lead-out cars and seeing our favorite cyclists zip by was thrilling for us, even though it was only for a few moments. Since we had built in an extra night into our itinerary, we ended up driving to Andorra the next day to see the start of yet another stage and by doing so, got to see cyclists warming up by their team buses and shaking hands and riding alongside our vehicle on their warm-up rides. Nerdy as it is, it was momentous! Having that extra night allowed us to have breathing room with our itinerary which resulted in one of our top vacation days ever.
Have I been in some jams due to not planning days out fully? Of course! This household still jokes about how we basically lived off of grocery store fried chicken in Hawaii because somehow all of the touring we did never went past actual restaurants. Have there been instances where I haven’t fully thought about how far away I’m wandering from my original path which led to some unique “nature is calling” moments? Maybe.
But that’s the fun of it. I love chatting with travelers who are a little or a lot hesitant to drive on the other side of the road. Beyond the fact that your brain will adjust more quickly than you think possible, that’s part of the fun. The giggles that come along with “whoops” moments on the road and getting a tad lost. Once I got turned around near the Scottish border and managed to finally see Hadrian’s Wall which I’d been interested in since high school. (Yes, again, nerd alert.)
Of course, the mom in me also advises that the best spontaneous moments are supported by dressing in layers with appropriate footwear and always having a plethora of snacks and plenty of water with you.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that adore spontaneity…provided it’s carefully planned.
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