Lessons Learned

The Reason Planned Travel is not for me.

I am fairly well traveled when it comes to exploring the United States or Canada. However, my family has never been the type to plan our trips down to the minute. I always have enjoyed the spur of the moment adventures this can lead to.

I can remember my first big road trip. The family decided the night before we left that my mom was taking my little brother and me on a vacation. The next morning we packed and jumped in the car, stopping at our local Shopko to pick up a few things we were missing. After the shopping trip, we sat in the car in the parking lot and decided to drive to Florida.

My first real experience with a planned trip was this past spring break. My Bible Study group, Lutheran Student Fellowship, decided to go on a mission trip to New Orleans. We decided to stay the night in Memphis, Tennessee on the drive down and again on the return trip.

LSF volunteering at a Horse Ranch

Students from Lutheran Student Fellowship volunteering at a Horse Rescue Ranch.

It made sense to plan ahead. For the first time ever, I was taking a trip with hard time restrictions. We all had to be back in time to do a little homework on Sunday before classes on Monday.

The majority of the trip went as planned. It was nice knowing that we would have a hotel when we were ready to stop and that we would be close enough to a town that had food that we would not have to worry about getting food poisoning if we ate.

My family vacations have been riddled with the first problem, not being able to find a room when we were ready to stop and being forced to drive further. The second issue we have managed to avoid by buying snacks and keeping them in the car so we know we will always have something to eat.

I was almost sold on the idea of trip planning when the downfall of it was realized. Something went wrong; the plans were no longer applicable. We were left to try to catch up with our plans.

One trip to the hospital led to a late start leaving Memphis. Instead of arriving back in Des Moines around midnight, it would now be at 6:30 in the morning.

The nine-and-a-half hour drive from Memphis convinced me that trip planning is not all it is made out to be. Staying awake was a struggle, even when people rotated to help keep the drivers awake.

Trying to gain back the time we lost was an adventure in itself. However, the adventure was much more stressful than the spur of the moment adventures I am used to. I will not be planning trips any time in the near future.