I am a planner by nature.
I am the proud owner of several floral-clad datebooks, worn out and filled to the brim with illegible musings, organizing almost every facet of my daily life. They are my bible.
I’m not one of those people who plans down to the exact second, but I do plan to the minute, like any sane person. If I’m feeling risky or adventurous, I might only schedule things down to the hour — a rare, but welcome occasion.
When it comes to traveling, my planner’s heart skips a beat because of all the organization that comes with exploring a new place.
I do try to account for some spontaneity in my preparation, but not much — even my idle wandering has a time limit, a complete contradiction.
Recently, I took a trip the Amalfi Coast in Italy to hike the Sentiero delgi Dei trail. The route, which takes three-and-a-half hours to complete, begins in the small city of Bomerano, Italy and traverses down the shoreline to the picturesque town of Positano, Italy.
The journey commenced with a nausea-inducing bus ride from Naples to the path’s starting point — around 30 total miles.
During this joyride, I realized Italians have a knack for driving large vehicles down narrow roadways, so much so, they make you fear for your life and those around you.
Sleep was the only escape from hellish display showcased on all sides of the hulking vehicle. Unfortunately, the short snooze turned out to be a very poor choice, despite the solace it provided.
Since my travel companions and I were asleep, we completely missed our stop and ended up an hour away from Bomerano.
We began to debate whether we should wait two hours for the next bus or make the voyage on foot — eventually deciding on the latter out of frugality and impatience.
Being who I am, this caused my anxiety to soar. We had no idea if we were going in the right direction.
As our group made our way to the initial destination, our pace started to slow as we fell prisoner to the landscape before us.
The area buzzed with life and lush greenery. The scent of fresh lemons hung in the air, sweet with just the slightest hint of sour. Each step we seemed to be met with a new, friendly face — furry or otherwise.
We all agreed that we had never seen anything so serene. My prior resentment for this detour faded away quickly.
The trip could’ve ended right there, among the company of stray dogs and strangers — I wouldn’t have minded a bit.
An hour shortly turned into two before we even made it to Bomerano, but it didn’t matter. We knew we would get there eventually, and eventually, we did.
Like the poet, Robert Frost, I, too, found myself traveling down a path I hadn’t previously accounted for, and it truly did make a difference, despite not being in a yellow wood.
I don’t think the road mistaken, in my case, was remarkable enough to completely change my planning nature, but it was enough for me to decide to be more flexible and to leave more of my life up to chance.
Weirdly, the best things in life seem to happen when you aren’t scheduling them. Who would have guessed?
Olivia Heersink can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @oliviaheersink