The “P” Word

We used to be all-about-the-plan – our corporate days set to rigid schedules of meetings, our weekends activities planned out a few weeks in advance and our annual tropical holiday dreamt about for months.  We employed a financial planner to be sure that at retirement, our bank account would be adequately stocked to allow for comfortably living out our final days.

And then we made the decision to travel and detach ourselves from our carefully prescribed life. Forget planning for our weekly meals or evening TV viewing schedule, we only booked three days at the beginning of our adventures in Sucre, Bolivia, and that was it. Throughout all of our travels we have barely gone according to any plan, preferring to employ a different four-letter word of whim.

In fact, the word “plan” is now known as the “P word“, in that, it is a curse.

This can be a hard concept for people to understand, especially our loved ones. We often get questioned on when we plan to settle down or where we plan to go next.

Our response?  “WTF are you swearing at us for?”

We have no grand p#$%. And we like it that way. It has been working well for us – we have left it up to the universe to determine our next moves, and so far she has stepped up and done some good work….

As we were settling into our housesit in British Columbia, with no p#$%s for after our two months there, Roatán came calling for another six month housesit.

When (with the help of YOU), we decided that we wanted to head to Europe next, we were invited to Ireland.

With only two weeks to go in Ireland, with no p#$%s at all as to where we would live next, our friends Warren and Betsy introduced us to our next house sit in Brussels.

Not far from Brussels is Hamburg, Germany, and thanks to the universe (via our good friend Nick) we have been given the opportunity to work behind-the-scenes at the Reeperbahn music festival.

And finally, thanks to a friend-of-a-friend, we have been offered a three week housesit near London.  We are very excited to accept that one as spending that much time in London would be too expensive for us otherwise.

Without any kind of concrete p#$%, we are free to capitalize on any opportunity that comes our way.  We are letting these opportunities guide our path, in our travel and in our life.

There is little point in asking us where we’ll be next Easter, or where we are going to “summer”. And don’t dare ask us what our p#$% is.  We won’t put up with that kind of filthy language.


52 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • September 7 2011

    So much foul talk here! =P

    We like to have very loose p#%$s, but then also have the flexibility to change them as we’d like. You never know what kind of opportunity might arise if you remain open to anything and everything… =)
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo Essay: London

    • September 8 2011

      Some times it has gotten us in trouble….we showed up in Dublin and had no plans at all as to what we were even going to see there! But overall, I think it’s the way to be. Opportunities pop up all the time when you have the freedom to acknowledge and choose from them! 🙂

  • Katrina
    September 7 2011

    Hahaha! So true. Enjoyed our rambling day on the Dingle Peninsula precisely because it was all about going with the flow. Sometimes I really enjoy savoring a plan in advance, as doing so can build anticipation and make the experience even more poignant, but not being *bound* by a plan is Teh Awesome. Thanks for the post. Cheers! 😀

    • September 8 2011

      Thanks Katrina! We enjoyed our day in Dingle for that reason as well! Building anticipation is one good reason to plan, although in the past I think I may have almost built things up TOO much, and then felt let down (with traveling anyways). I’d just get too excited. 🙂

  • September 7 2011

    Not having a “p-word” sounds like it is working quite nicely for you both! We are looking forward to a time when we can “p-word” a little less.
    Debbie – European Travelista recently posted..Five of the Best Sweet Treats to Try in Paris

    • September 8 2011

      We keep saying that we are waiting for it to bite us because we have REALLY left it up to whatever opportunity comes our way (sometimes, out of sheer laziness – ha!) but it all has worked our remarkably well so far. Why mess with a good thing? 🙂

  • September 7 2011

    Well said!

    My mom came to visit me on Roatan, and every morning would ask, “What’s our plan for today?” She lives a typical, scheduled lifestyle in Ontario, Canada.

    Now, I’m not saying my mom swears at me, but every morning, my answer was the same, “I can tell you what we’re doing in the next few minutes or so, beyond that, your guess is as good as mine!” We had a blast while she was on the Island!

    Ban planning… it may lead to you missing out on what you really want to do!

    • September 8 2011

      “It may lead to you missing out on what you really want to do!” – WELL SAID!

      It’s funny…living back in Calgary I used to think that no cool opportunities ever came up…but I think that I was so entrenched in my “plan” there, that I wouldn’t even recognize them if they did! It’s quite nice to just “let go” and see what comes our way!

      Nice to hear from you Genevieve – I hope all is well in Roatan! We miss it!

    • Leah
      September 11 2011

      Ban planning… it may lead to you missing out on what you really want to do!

      I love that! I still live in the suburbs, no crazy travel life for me, but I have been working very hard at “going with the flow” and it is very much against my innate flow. But there have been great days because of it.

      I like how you said that, and I’ll likely use that phrase to get me through this next week of busy; albeit necessary schedules, buy trying not to plan so much, but just going with the flow.

      • Pete
        September 12 2011

        It’s funny because of our non-planning, it’s been mostly good to us, but has bitten us in the ass a few times. For example, we arrived in Dublin without a clue what the city had to offer. The first couple of days we had to figure it out, but we happened upon the pride parade. We know next week we need to be in Hamburg, but we are having a paper rock scissors competition to see who is going to arrange us getting there 🙂

  • Dad
    September 7 2011

    Isn’t it funny that is what your dad does for a living.
    Looking forward to hearing about Belguim

  • September 8 2011

    That’s right-put your foot down and demand that they get their mouths washed out with soap or hot sauce! None of this &@^@ing @*&%%ing.

    Great post 😉 And I may be a little jealous.
    Claire recently posted..I Am Giving Away Some Lost Girls. Do You Want Them?

    • September 8 2011

      So much foul language! WTF? 🙂

  • September 8 2011

    I can’t even think of more than 3 months at a time so I give a quarterly forecast with warning it could change at any moment.
    ayngelina recently posted..Why I want a Hindu wedding

    • September 8 2011

      Haha – quarterly forecast – you sound so corporate! 🙂 But 3 months is about as far as I like to think too. Sometimes even having a plan for a few weeks out makes me nervous.

  • Alouise
    September 7 2011

    Brussels, Germany and England… it seems like not having a plan has been a good thing.

    • September 8 2011

      Yup, can’t say we’ve been disappointed yet! 🙂

  • September 8 2011

    LOL, I have to admit – before I read even the first sentence of your post – my 1st thought was that the “P” word was going to be…

    Why “Pete” of course! 😉

    Silly me. And I love your notion of just letting the muse of serendipity come calling. It surely seems to be working delightfully for you two!

    • September 8 2011

      LOL! Yes, Pete is now a curse word. 🙂 It’s because we are in Belgium, and he is now known as Pierre! 🙂

  • September 8 2011

    Yup – and this is why I COULD NOT do what you are doing. I was feeling anxiety just reading this and pretending to be in your shoes. To you, ‘plan’ may be a curse word, to me, it is food. But I can be chill, too…

    I admire you guys for having no fear.
    Teri recently posted..Craft Room Re-Furbish – Part 1

    • September 9 2011

      Well, at least you’ve got Chris to shake things up a bit for you – he’s good at not p#@$ing!! 🙂

  • September 8 2011

    I confess, sometimes I like to p#$%, actually I need it… I work for travel and I travel for work, so when I have to go to about 3 or 4 countries in a month, some p#$% is necessary. But I’m trying to put myself in a condition of less and less p#$% 😉

    • September 9 2011

      Of course it is necessary sometimes. And I worry that we have gone TOO far, in that we don’t plan for ANYTHING! 🙂

  • September 8 2011

    Organization is my middle name, so I p*!# relentless. Then pretty much forget about the p*!#s and bless the diversions. As they say, “Man proposes; God disposes.”
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: A Window into Brittany

    • September 9 2011

      Ha – that’s awesome!

  • September 8 2011

    LMFAO YESSSSSS!!! you know i’m going to totally freakin’ LOVE this!!! i am with you 200% all the way. let life inform your plans, and go go go with your instincts. what an adventure life is that way, right?! adore this. 😀
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..Never Say Never- What I Learned From Rock Stars

    • September 9 2011

      Ha – thanks Lorna! I have to say that a few years ago I could never picture myself being this way, but now I can’t imagine being any other!

  • September 9 2011

    I hate getting asked about the “P” word. I actually had to “P” when my friend bought his ticket to Costa Rica. We actually had to be somewhere at some time. Stressed me out!
    Erica recently posted..Photo Essay: Alice in Wonderland on Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

    • September 9 2011

      Ugh, yes there are times when it is absolutely necessary. But it doesn’t make it any less painful… 🙂

  • September 9 2011

    I love this post! The p-word is something I pride in ignoring as often as possible. After backpacking for two years I’m now working again in Korea (as a teacher) and I’m finding it REALLY hard to adjust to the routines, set deadlines and alarm clocks that go along with a routine working schedule.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..‘The Shot’ | Quirky Travel Tale

    • September 9 2011

      Ack! I can’t imagine re-adjusting to that…I mean, it may happen someday…but right now I’d be so terrible at it, I’m sure! 🙂

  • Abby
    September 8 2011

    My boyfriend about had a heart attack recently when I was headed to Argentina without a hotel reservation. But I’ve also been known to over-plan — just so I can enjoy throwing them out. 🙂

    • September 9 2011

      As long as you like to mix it up with some non-p#@$ing! 🙂

  • September 9 2011

    It’s so hard when family want to know your plans. Ours want us to commit to an event two years away! No freaking idea where on earth we’ll be then.
    Erin recently posted..Learning to Cook Japanese Buddhist Cuisine in Kyoto

  • September 9 2011

    You’ve just struck a chord with me! It’s nice to just put your wishes out there and let the universe take care of you. I need to get less fidgity about where we’re headed after November and relax a little. John didn’t read this post but he thanks you 😉
    Andrea recently posted..Guest Post: 5 of the Best Places to Watch Le Tour de France

  • Christine
    September 9 2011

    Haha, loved this. I struggle with this–a lot. The American in me thinks I should have a more soild p-word for my future but living in Spain? Well, that just doesn’t fly. I’m learning to let go and see where life takes me–obviously it’s worked out well for you two!

    • September 10 2011

      It really is amazing what opportunities have arisen when we’ve just left ourselves open to it. Hopefully it continues… 🙂

  • September 11 2011

    Hey guys,
    We are so happy that the gig in Brussels worked out so perfectly. We hope you are enjoying the city and exploring its beer, chocolate, and food a little each day.

    We learned a few weeks into our trip that planning can ruin many wonderful new experiences. We have such an aversion to it now that buying tickets 2 weeks in advance causes us to freak out a bit. We just always assume something interesting will come up, and 90% of the time it does.

    Keep living your life without the “p” word and enjoying every moment of interesting and new experiences that come your way. We’ll be sitting on the other side of your website reading about them all.
    Warren Talbot recently posted..Live the good life in France

    • September 11 2011

      Thanks Warren! Brussels is working out quite well for us, and two weeks isn’t going to be enough to see it all! (BTW, heard about your empty wine bottle collection over dinner with A&A last night…lushes!! haha)

      Now that we have things laid out through to November, it makes me nervous! But, those opportunities just popped up and were too good to turn down. Glad it works out for you guys that way too! Hope we can FINALLY meet up somewhere in Germany before you go!

  • September 11 2011

    I LOVE THIS POST! I am adopting this into my vocabulary as a swear word, too… Of course, I curse a LOT… this will be the one cuss word I just won’t utter 🙂

    • Pete
      September 12 2011

      c’mon Sam you don’t curse a lot 😉 I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures cruise shippin’ and then……

  • September 12 2011

    hahaha I totally asked you what your next plan was in the last comment I left 🙂
    sorry I wont use that horrible 4-letter-word around you ever again!
    Cailin recently posted..Favorite Film Friday #022

    • Pete
      September 12 2011

      haha, it’s ok, just go wash your mouth out with soap 😉

  • September 12 2011

    Liking this 🙂

    I brought my kids to live in New Zealand for 6 months with only a plane ticket and the first 4 nights at a hotel planned in advance. Worked out fine.
    Sophie recently posted..Images of Innsbruck

    • Pete
      September 12 2011

      I like it! It might be a little scary at first, but after a while it becomes second nature and the “p” word becomes a swear 🙂

  • September 13 2011

    how awesome and scary all at once!! i’m a meeting/event planner…i just can’t wrap my tiny little brain around NOT planning! 🙂
    jenjenk recently posted..Oahu: Surfing Lessons in Waikiki

    • September 14 2011

      Something else AMAZING just came up for us today….thanks to not having a plan! I’m sure that one day it is going to bite us in the ass, but for now, I’m just going to go with it!

  • Theodora
    September 16 2011

    I’m very anti-planning too. But still trying to think about that four-letter word for next year. Maybe I should just give up on it altogether as you guys have.

    • September 16 2011

      Do it! Things just magically have been popping up for us. Except, we need to p#$% more when it comes to train tickets in Europe. That’s biting us. 🙂

  • October 9 2011

    We share your Anti-Plan Plan as well–much to the frustration of almost everyone we talk to who seem profoundly uncomfortable with our inability to answer simple questions like “How much longer do you plan to say in (fill in the bland)?”

    Our shoulders are getting sore from shrugging…
    Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Troubled but Trying – Guatemala City, Guatemala

    • Pete
      October 10 2011

      Or how about, so where are you going to settle down when this is all said and done? we have the same sore shoulders 😉

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