In my real life, I'm a planner. I like lists and times and punctuality. I like to know what my day holds before I pour my first cup of coffee. Hiding under all my day planners and sticky notes is a spontaneous alter ego. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants traveller at heart.
When I was in college I spent my junior year studying abroad in Angers, France. Saying I studied abroad is a bit loose on language, as I spent most of my time galavanting around Europe, drinking coffee and sleeping on trains. When I was planning to leave for the year I was anxious. There was so much I wanted to do while I was there, but I had no idea how to plan for it and what was worse, I didn't even know where to start planning. I let myself become totally overwhelmed with the idea of a weekend in Paris or Spain before I even left Missouri.
When I set foot on French soil a beautiful thing happened. I stopped worrying. I gave up on planning and just set out for an adventure. That year was my most satisfying lesson in letting go of control. I'm not saying that my nerves didn't get the better of me (and my fingernails) now and again, but I have no regrets. I lived while I was there and have more than a handful of interesting stories to show for it.
And, I'm itching to go back...I guess I should start planning a trip.