The other day, I caught myself drafting an itinerary for my upcoming vacation. I will be on the road for 16 days, which is just 2 days shorter than when I went to Guatemala in January 2012. I haven't been on a vacation where I just packed a backpack and went for a while, so I am very much looking forward to it. So I started to draft an itinerary, but then decided to abandon the endeavor because I realized that it is no use anyway.
See, before I went to Guatemala, I also drafted an itinerary. I just had the habit of doing so. I would sort of plan where I would want to go, and sort of follow that. I did that in all my previous trips, but come to think of it, the last time I did follow the itinerary was when I was in Mexico City. That was January 2011. I stayed in Mexico City for a full week, having based myself in a hostel near the Zocalo. I explored the city, and then did some daytrips around the capital as well. However, when I was in Guatemala, I didn't follow my itinerary at all.
I realized that if you're only staying in one place, then it is easy to have an itinerary and follow it. That was what I did when I was in Mexico City. I listed all the things I wanted to go and see, even the amount of time I would be spending in each. I planned my stay based on several constraints, such as geographical location, company (some days I was traveling with my best friend), and hours of operation (some museums were closed on some days and free entrance on others).
That worked, but when I was in Guatemala, I realized I deviated from my itinerary so much it pretty much was useless. I deviated from it pretty much the second day. I had a booking for a night at a cheap hotel (because I was arriving late at night at the airport, and I didn't want to wander the streets of Guatemala City looking for a place to stay in the middle of the night). So the morning after, I asked about buses, and found out that the bus to neighboring Honduras was departing early in the morning. So I figured, why not? Hence, I crossed two international borders within two days. I just played it by ear after that.
And yes, I do believe that Guatemala 2012 was my best trip ever, and nothing else has topped that, so far.
So we'll see with this one. I drafted an itinerary, but stopped midway. I figured I won't follow it anyway. I have 16 days, a guidebook, a phrasebook, and a sense of adventure. I do not speak the language, I do not read the script, but hey, life is an adventure. I have survived for 3 nights in Bulgaria, so why can't I do this? Who knows, I might even sneak into another country while I am at it. This country is in a region of the world I haven't visited before, so I am quite excited. Of course, a series of blog posts are going to be uploaded when I come back.