Where Shall We Sleep Next?

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

A few years back, just two weeks away from wrapping up our house-sit in Ireland, we had no plans for when it was over. No tickets booked, no accommodations sorted, no idea of where we even wanted to go. Nothing.

In a conversation with my sister, she acknowledged that she had no idea how we could live this way – that the uncertainty of plans was something she could not handle.

I don’t know how or when the switch was flipped from meticulous corporate monkeys to whimsical gypsies, but we were less than two years into our travels and not fazed by our situation in the slightest. There were always beds to be had, planes, trains and automobiles were constantly on the move and one of them was bound to have room to take us.

For the most part, we’ve eschewed cementing plans too far into the future, preferring to leave it up to impulse or opportunity, whichever came our way first. Our rationale is that carefully-laid plans are usually accompanied by high expectation, and thus, without many plans at all, we are free to flit around the world and be pleasantly surprised by whatever path is ultimately laid out for us.

(That, and sometimes we are just too indecisive and/or lazy.) Along the way, it has worked out favorably for us.

Until it didn’t.

For a very long time, Pete and I have itched to visit a particular region of Canada, and an opportunity presented itself to finally allow us to do so. The timing couldn’t be more perfect – it was to be the grand celebration of our five year vagabondaversary that we explore more of our own backyard. We mapped and plotted, pushed other opportunities aside, even bought new equipment. This was to be our one giant adventure of the year.

And then, during our last few days in beautiful Maui, where we desperately wanted nothing more than to just soak all its warm goodness in, we found ourselves scrambling. Our ground-breaking partnership with the local tourism board was suddenly dissolved as they abruptly (and extremely unprofessionally) pulled out in the final days.

It was too late to plan the ambitious journey on our own, as much as we still wanted to. We gave into the anger and raged for an entire day – but no more than that – we allowed ourselves time to lament about our lost adventure, but then tried our best to immediately turn it into something positive.

We found ourselves in a familiar position (albeit a bit more panicked than we are used to), and laid out the world map before us.

For the most part, we’ve eschewed cementing plans too far into the future, preferring to leave it up to impulse or opportunity, whichever came our way first.

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The typical response we get to having this problem is that it ain’t much of a problem at all. Woe is us, right? With the entire world at our fingertips and all?

Except that we are exceptionally bad at making quick decisions on such a grand scale, and we do have to consider our budget and our business (good wi-fi is a must!). People often ask us how we decide where to go and we really have no good answer. If it’s not a strong impulse or opportunity that guide us, then it is a random and entirely unscientific method not far from throwing a dart at a map while blindfolded, with little rhyme or reason to steer its path.

We are usually drawn to those places we haven’t heard much of before – those destinations in which our personal slate is blank and left to be filled only by our own experiences. Of course we consider such things as climate and flight prices, but ultimately, pure curiosity lead us to where I type this from right now.

We are usually drawn to those places we haven’t heard much of before.

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Our one day of cursing and raging at the plans that were spoiled was left at that. Once our flights were booked for the following week, our thoughts turned to the renowned Romanian countryside and we tried to wrap our tongues around towns we wanted to visit: Sighișoara, Timișoara, and more. We allotted ourselves at least a month to figure it all out once we got there.

But where shall we sleep after that? That is the question.

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15 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • July 14 2014

    An interesting insight into what goes on behind the scenes. That sucks the tourism board cancelled at the last minute – SO unprofessional. Am looking forward to hearing about your Romania adventures though – that’s one country we’re keen to explore.

    • July 16 2014

      Then prepared to get MORE keen. 🙂 We loved it, and stories start in the next post!

  • July 14 2014

    It’s pretty hard for me to comment on this because my husband and I always have plans. In fact, he’s pretty good at that whole planning thing. No expectations, just planning (because every place has something that is awesome /not good).

    And I think the more planned you are, the more you get from that in your experience. Good luck in Romania. Look forward to your stories. =)
    nicole recently posted..Cheap-esque Things We Did in Zagreb

    • July 16 2014

      I can’t even count the number of fantastic experiences and opportunities that have resulted from spontaneity and being unplanned. So, I wouldn’t change our methods for anything! To each their own, though. 🙂

  • July 14 2014

    I love this and I hope your Canadian trip experience doesn’t put you off being so wonderfully spontaneous!

    It’s so hard to let go of the inner control-freak when it comes to city/ country hopping but I’m learning to let go (slowly). We’ve been on the road for 6 months now, and learning that a little planning goes a long way. It’s nice to have mile stones to head towards but not necessarily work out all the details inbetween. It’s wonderfully liberating and pushes you to explore places you may not have thought to go (writing this whilst very randomly roadtripping through the Midwest).

    In the past we’ve booked flights to ‘Country A’ rather than ‘Country B’ because there was a certain type of plane we wanted to fly on, or the latest whim, a certain apartment because it had a Herman Miller chair!.

    I love laying the world map out and saying “I wander what it’s like in XXX, let’s go!”

    • July 16 2014

      I LOVE that you chose an apartment based on a chair! 🙂

      Creeping into western Europe for summer now means we do need to plan a bit ahead (not only because it’s so busy, but for cheaper prices) – in fact, Pete is doing that as I type this. It bugs me, I have to admit, that we can’t give in to more last minute whims!

  • That must have been disappointing to be looking forward to your Canadian adventure so much then be let down at the last minute. It definitely looks like it has worked out well for you though in Romania, it is a country I would like to visit one day too.

    • July 16 2014

      As Pete said: “maybe we just saved ourselves from getting eaten by a bear anyways.” 🙂 All turned out well, as we have really loved our time here.

  • July 15 2014

    Great post, as always. Been avidly following your Romanian footsteps on Instagram. I can’t wait to see it for myself, but don’t know when it’ll happen. Few plans, fewer expectations, right? And as always, can’t wait to see where the road takes you next.

    • July 16 2014

      Thanks Ana! Hope you do spontaneously make it to Romania too. 🙂

  • July 21 2014

    I am in agreement with your sister, I could not handle the uncertainty of plans. It is wonderful to know that the vagabond approach works for you and Pete!

    I look forward to following along on your travels to Romania!

  • The unpredictability can have its disadvantages, but it sounds like another adventure is in the making right behind it! Have fun in Romania!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..FRIDAY PHOTO: Baby Cheetahs in South Africa

  • November 26 2014

    I even spontaneously decided to MOVE to Romania.
    Andreas Moser recently posted..My Blog is a Millionaire

  • February 7 2015

    I’m loving your blog!
    Do you work with any sort of checklist in choosing a place? Running my life lately has been the book ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die’. It’s been so fun adding checkmarks in to keep track!
    Andrea recently posted..Venice, Italy

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