Some people plan their vacations. They research every hotel, restaurant and flight. They read reviews of every activity and plan their trip to the minute.
Can’t do it. That seems too much like work.
This year, like always, we take a short trip for our wedding anniversary. Some years, the plan comes together easily. Other years, it’s more of a struggle.
This year was a tough one.
Since this was our tenth anniversary, my thought was to go back to Hawaii, where we spent our honeymoon. Unfortunately, my husband’s schedule wouldn’t allow him to take a week or more off.
So I looked into the Caribbean. Maybe the Dominican Republic.
Enter Hurricane Irma. Followed by Maria.
Perhaps a busy hurricane year wasn’t the best time to plan a Caribbean vacation.
Maybe, I thought, we could go to the Gulf Coast.
Enter Hurricane Nate.
OK, then. Maybe it’s time to go visit some friends in Idaho.
My husband put the cabash on that. After a chilly summer, he wanted to go somewhere warm. At least warmer.
Finally, A Decision
At last I talked him into a day in New Orleans and two days on the Gulf Coast. (Nate didn’t do that much damage, as it turned out.)
My reasoning? I’ve never been there. I want to see them. He wasn’t that thrilled, but agreed.
Then I scrambled to find some cheap tickets and good hotel deals.
And got ready to go, without much enthusiasm.
I’d made no plans. Had no idea what we would do when we got there.
I was sure that we’d come up with something. I sure hoped so.
The Result of Our Failure to Plan
It couldn’t have turned out better if we’d planned. From our charming and delightful hotel (Le Richelieu in the French Quarter) with its charming and helpful staff, we enjoyed every minute. Strolling through the French Quarter, we stumbled on a street market. Jackson Square treated us to jazz and a walk under some palm trees.
Is it just me, or am I the only person who was surprised to see palm trees in New Orleans?
Randomly we chose Muriel’s for dinner. Exquisite food, reasonably priced. Outstanding flourless chocolate cake.
We did make a point of going to one famous spot, the Café de Monde for beignets. We rambled around, taking in the sights, and visited a museum or two.
Then we headed out of town, stopping at a little café in the middle of nowhere for a late lunch. My husband took advantage of the pound of boiled shrimp for $5.99. I feared for his cholesterol. He said he won’t be eating shrimp again for a while.
We drove the coast, found our next hotel in Biloxi and continued our random adventure. We must have been the only people who didn’t go there to gamble.
Which didn’t bother us any. We took in a little local history, strolled on the beach, took our time.
And that was the point. To get away from schedules and deadlines. To just go with the moment as our whims took us, as aimless as the seagulls soaring overhead.
Maybe we missed some of the “must-sees” or “must-dos.” But we didn’t go just to return with a long list of impressive things we saw or do.
Instead, we came back refreshed, restored and reconnected to each other.
Sometimes, it pays to skip the planning.