After writing a brief summary of my travels in 2011, it would make perfect sense for me to follow it up with my travel plans for 2012.
But the truth is…
I actually have no plans.
None at all.
I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing and where I’ll be going in 2012.
…But hopefully it will involve a few beaches.
When I left London to travel in July, I had a very detailed itinerary of exactly where I was going to go. Whenever somebody would ask me about my plans, I was able to instantly recite a full list of countries and dates – I knew exactly where I was going to be for the whole of 2011.
I stuck to this itinerary for less than two months.
My first stop was in Croatia and I had booked a flight out of Moscow for six weeks later. My itinerary couldn’t, and didn’t, change and I spent 3 or 4 days in each place, just as I had planned back home.
However, when I finally arrived in Asia, everything changed.
I landed in Taipei with no onward flight booked and started enjoying having the luxury of being able to stay in places for longer than three days. I was now able to have lazy days where I could lie in bed and watch movies without feeling like I was missing out on valuable travel time.
I adored Taiwan and gradually my 5 days I’d originally planned on spending there stretched out into three weeks!
I finally worked up the courage to head over to China and I was fully intending on spending 2 months there. Of course, once I arrived I found that I hated it and wasn’t enjoying myself at all.
I forced myself to stay and stick it out for a while, telling myself that things would get better and that I’d soon get used to the crazy culture.
With each passing day, I found myself becoming more and more miserable.
Why was I torturing myself when I didn’t have to?
During a Skype session with one of the girls I met in Taiwan she told me to come and hang out with her in Seoul. She promised me that it was the perfect place to de-stress and that she would take me to strangely-named coffee shops every day.
Within hours, I had booked a flight to Seoul and once I got there I found that it was just what I needed and I ended up staying for 3 weeks.
A country that I hadn’t even considered visiting turned out to be one of my favourite stops of 2011.
That was when I began to realise that this whole having plans thing really wasn’t working for me. Still, I was adamant that I was going to stick to my original itinerary, so I flew to Hong Kong and planned to re-enter China and stick to my plan of exploring Southern China.
However, when searching for flights out of Hong Kong I discovered that it costs only £20 to fly to the Philippines.
After a quick image search of Philippine beaches, and knowing that my second time in China would probably be less enjoyable than a colonic irrigation with chilli sauce, I booked my ticket right away.
In the Philippines I had some of my best travel experiences to date. I met five amazing girls and we spent three weeks island hopping and having hundreds of crazy adventures – swimming in the sea in our underwear at midnight, peeing under palm trees, going to bars run entirely by midgets, to name but a few.
When my visa for the Philippines ran out, I had strayed so far away from my previous plans that I had no idea where to go to next.
…And I loved it.
I chose my next destination at random the night before I was due to leave. To decide, I blindfolded myself infront of a map of South-East Asia and started prodding at it at random. After ending up in the South China Sea five times in a row, I gave up and started actually researching flights and destinations.
I was struggling to choose between Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam… Basically anywhere that I could get a reasonably priced flight to.
Knowing that one of my friends was heading over to Thailand, I booked some flights to Phuket and followed her, thinking I’d only spend a few weeks in Thailand…
As expected, the complete opposite happened. I ended up finding a boyfriend, moving in with him and planning to stay in Thailand until April.
Not only that but I am now planning on going to India for the Holi festival in March, with India being somewhere that I always said I’d avoid and had no plans to visit.
When I look back at the first post I ever wrote on this site, compare that to the itinerary I had set in stone when I left to travel and then compare those two plans to the events that actually occurred this year, I am amazed at just how much my plans were modified.
Before I left, everybody I spoke to told me not to plan too much in advance, because my plans will change. I, of course, ignored everyone’s advice and went ahead and meticulously planned everything out anyway.
They were right and I was wrong.
This is precisely why I have made zero plans for 2012. I now feel that any time spent making plans for the year ahead would be a waste of energy as the chances of me actually following through on them are extremely low.
So there you have it, I have absolutely no idea where I will be going in 2012.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way…
Have you ever changed your plans half-way through a trip?