Does travel lack mystery?

Plan Your Next: Letter No. 17

Well hello there! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and were able to spend some time with people you love. I’ve been in Milwaukee spending some time with my in-laws

As much as I love talking about habits and routines, they get disrupted by travel or other things you can’t quite plan for. I wish I had an easy answer for it, but rolling with the punches is just part of the process. Thanks for sticking around.

It was only my second time visiting Asia. The first was just 18 months ago, and at the time, I had no idea what to expect.

Up until that point, I avoided that half of the world for a long time, because I was intimidated for whatever the reason. The language seemed more challenging to overcome, the cultures seemed more black and white, and my pure complacency to try something different.

We planned our trip the usual way; a combination of researching blogs, asking friends about their experiences, visiting sites like Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor, or scouring Twitter for references to obscure places.

The internet has made planning a trip incredibly easy. The bar feels almost too low sometimes. Head on Instagram to effectively visit a place before you go. Check out YouTube to experience that destination through someone else’s eyes.

Do you feel that planning a trip this way takes the mystery out of the whole process?

We have been looking for a new apartment recently, and usually what I’ll do is to visit Google street view to get a sense of the neighborhood or street. Is it all cement lined streets or are there plenty of green, or a park nearby?

You can do the same for any new city that you’re thinking of visiting, and soon we’ll probably all be on VR headsets to visit a lot of these places whenever we want. No need to fly and experience it for yourself!

I don’t fully expect this to replace the act of buying a plane ticket and renting a home, spending a week experience the sights, but I do think that it’s going to be a relatively convenient way to take in a new destination that you don’t have to commit to fully.

When we were planning our trip, we found out that some friends of ours were also bouncing from Tokyo to Kyoto just a few weeks before us. After we started trading notes, we realized that their trip was almost identical to ours. Some of the same areas and restaurants were well documented and already planned out in our Evernote. (Still switching.)

If planning a trip can lead to more of a dopamine hit than experiencing the trip itself, then maybe we should just always be planning trips rather than taking them!

Ok, of course not. But it does feel like the effort put into planning can rob part of the experience ahead of time, with the number of ways we can experience it ahead of time.

Have you ever visited something on Google Earth and thought, “Ok, now I don’t need to go there now?” I did that once with some volcanoes in Hawaii.

In the end, I don’t think that I’ll ever get more satisfied planning a trip than visiting, but maybe I need to balance things out and prepare to plan less somehow.


A few shots from our trip

Have a great week!

If you’re new to this newsletter, this is Plan Your Next. It’s a conversation about being ready for what’s next. Well, because there is always a next. I’m Nate, designer, and conductor of this group.

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