When my alarm went off at 4:00 am, I was immediately awake and hit off rather than snooze. An unusual move for me. I grabbed my phone, turning on the flashlight feature so I could see my way downstairs without waking up my sleeping family members. When I reached our home office, I sat in front of our desktop computer hitting the escape key to wake it up. I navigated quickly to the website I needed and got into the virtual queue to buy tickets. Even though I’d logged in within five minutes of tickets going on sale, the covered grandstand was already sold out. I grabbed two for the uncovered section and felt a sense of relief once I finished entering my credit card information through paypal and saw the pop up message that everything had been processed successfully. On a whim, I also emailed them to ask if there was a wait list for the covered section and quickly got a reply that they would put me on it. We had our tickets to the Braemar Gathering for the Highland Games this coming September.
I have spent so much time planning our upcoming trip to Scotland that we will actually spend less time in the country than the time I’ve invested in mapping out our adventures. The Braemar games also weren’t the only time I got up during the night to buy tickets for a planned vacation. I’m sure it won’t be my last.
While many people like to travel without a plan and let things unfold organically, I’ve learned that I am not one of them. I took an exceptionally frustrating trip to New York City many years ago where we tried that approach. We ended up spending the day shopping and doing little else. We kept just missing the start time for shows or events, restaurants we wanted to try were closed or full or we weren’t in the right location for other attractions. I vowed never again to travel without a plan. Now, I overplan.
And guess what? I love it.
A nice benefit of my obsessive creation and editing of my well mapped out itinerary is that it increases my excitement for my trip and extends the experience for me. As I meticulously map out each day, figuring out transfers and checking distances so I can maximize what we see and do during the trip, I feel like I am there. When I come across a new destination or fun event during my research, I get a surge of excitement and wonder can we possibly fit it in? I spend the next few days playing with our schedule until I’m happy with the changes and new adventure I was able to squeeze in. I can almost always squeeze it in.
I understand it’s not for everyone, but I have enjoyed every second of my vacation planning, other than booking the rental car. I’m a little nervous about that one, considering the whole “other side of the road driving requirement”, but how else can we get off the beaten path and hike through the Highlands and the Isle of Sky?
Below is a sample of some of the places we’re hoping to visit during out trip. I’m still planning though so things could change!
I got an email a few months after buying my Braemar Gathering tickets. They had an opening in the covered grandstand and we were able to upgrade our tickets! It’s added insurance against the inevitable Scottish rains dampening that day for us.
As I’ve organized our trip to Scotland, I’ve already fallen in love with the country. It reminds me a lot of Maine. I’m hoping our current pandemic doesn’t impact our travel, but if it does I’ve got a plan for that.
Why does this bring me bliss? The planning allows me to envision our trip and live in the excitement again and again before we ever step foot in the country. It brings moments of pure bliss.
What type of traveler are you?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.