“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
– Lao Tzu
I’ve seen this quote many times before, but thanks to this trip, I finally understand it.
I left home slightly freaked out about how most of my trip was unplanned, aside from a week and a half of it. I had an idea of where I wanted to go, but no idea of how I would get there or how many days I would spend in each place.
Many would call me spontaneous because I rarely plan big trips more than four weeks in advance. The ideas come early, but the booking and planning phase tends to start late.
But frantically researching and planning either how exactly to get around or which places I need to visit and check off my list puts me at ease. And for the most part, my schedules have been stuck to. There has always been a plan.
I think I was nervous about traveling without a plan because it is dangerous for checklists. It enables you to get caught up in wherever you are, meet enough people who make you want to stick around, and it will keep you from crossing off destinations and sites on your “must-see” list.
When I came to Oaxaca, it wasn’t overtly appealing at first. I quickly began to plan my exit, weighing suggestions from other travelers, bus times, and flight costs.
But in a few short days, the layers of Oaxaca’s reservation began to peel and the charms of the city slowly began to be revealed. So my loose plans were ditched and I decided to stay in the state of Oaxaca longer. Though I haven’t been constantly arriving in new places, each day of exploring brings me to new arrivals and realizations about the city, both good and bad.
People ask me how many days I’ve been here and I’ve forgotten. Fellow hostel mates are doubting that I will leave. But as my trip begins to wind down, I know I have to go, but I will leave with a deeper understanding of how satisfying it is to travel slowly.