Spontaneity – or plan, plan, plan when you travel?


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I’ve lived in Greece now for nearly 4 years.  Obviously it comes with its frustrations, but I love it overall (otherwise why would I choose to stay?).   One thing I love about this country is her spontaneity, and the fact that you can have an idea of what you want to do, but you can’t really plan, because through experience, plans nearly always fall apart.
Being spontaneous is a GOOD thing – it allows us to TRULY live life to the full (Opa!).

A man called Matt Barrett runs a fantastic website about Greece and what to expect, tips, etc and is very helpful if you email him with questions (should you find being spontaneous a little difficult).

However, I think you will agree this email he received a few days ago takes non-spontaneity to the extreme:

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your great website/travel guide.

Me and my husband are planning a trip to Athens and Santorini. We live in Jordan and it will be our first trip to Greece. I have been trying to gather as much information as possible in order to make informative decisions when planning for our trip. However there are a few points that I was wondering if you could help me with or maybe point out websites or other people who can give me reliable information. Any information regarding the queries below is appreciated.

Since this will be the first time for us to travel by boat (ferry). Would you be kind enough to explain the seating system on the Slow Ferry and on the Fast Boat ?

– Does economy class mean a seat like the one in the airplane or train?
– Can we walk on the deck during the trip?
– Are there seats with a table in front in the economy class [for extra space for the legs – as for the train tickets] if so can we specify this when making a reservation through a travel agent or online?
– is there a window seat with direct view of the sea? Or is the view to the deck only? Can we specify this when making a reservation through a travel agent or online?
– I would be grateful if you could provide a plan of the economy seats on the ferry and one for the economy seats on the fast boat to best understand the systems.
– is there a risk of sea sickness? Should we bring along sea sickness medication?
– is there any food provided during the trip as part of the reservation as in the case of plane tickets? Or is there a cafeteria on board as in the case of the train?
– at what time [in the morning] do we need to leave the Attalos hotel in Athens to get to the port on time if our boat leaves at 7:00 am? And what is the best way to get there? Is there public transportation available at that time? and how much time does it take?”

This is just a small section of the email!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, there is more to come!
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the rest of it, but it did get me thinking: when taking a holiday, just how spontaneous do you like to be?  I realise that if you have kids, it’s a little difficult but surely the above snippet of email is taking it to the extreme??

BTW, I should add these people are expats, living in Jordan (how do they cope!)

So, how spontaneous are YOU when travelling or living abroad?  Comments please, I look forward to hearing from you.

Featured image courtesy of: http://postmentis.com/2010/03/spontaneity/


  1. A fellow I once knew mentioned that he and his wife were going to France for their vacation. Not only did they have all of their rooms reserved, they also had all their meals reserved and, in a significant number of cases, had been in consultation with the chef and had their meals planned.

    He was a lawyer who did complex civil litigation and did not believe in leaving loose ends.

  2. I certainly couldn’t travel like this, but I think it’s a matter of personality and experience. This couple sounds like they are inexperienced travelers, maybe. I will say that I am more rigid when traveling with kids than when I was traveling solo because they have unique needs that have to be anticipated. These people seem like maybe they border on OCD. If that is actually the case, then good for them for getting out of their comfort zone. If this is their standard operating procedure, then they should probably drink more. 🙂

  3. Yes! Well, apparently they are expats living in Syria – so I would have thought they’d have to be pretty tough to live there – but by the sounds of their email, maybe not!

  4. I really doubt how much this lady has travelled!! She should see how travelling with ferries in Greece was 20 years ago: no assigned seats, no “airplane” style seats and everyone tried to get on the ship early in order to grab a seat. Nightmare!!
    When I travel I do a bit of both: plan and live time for spontaneity, but for trains, planes etc. I don’t go berserk, I mean for God’s sake!!

  5. Thanks for your comment Anna. Yes, when this inquiry came to light, I must admit I was slightly gobsmacked too!