Get up with the sun and to the sound of the waves. It is a dream.
And you know what makes it even better? Sitting side by side to figure out what the day will bring.
This is precisely what my partner at the time and I did when we impulsively decided to go to Indonesia for almost a month. This trip truly gave us the sense of freedom we craved. Here’s how everything transpired:
Lucky with logistics
While we knew that we would travel together for a few weeks, none of the details were penned. When? Where? How long? Oman, the Philippines, Bali? We really had no clue.
As soon as we realised that we could take a few weeks off, we booked our flights to Denpasar, Bali. I personally got very lucky with the last-minute bookings and snagged a return ticket to and from Bali for just EUR320 with Qatar Airways. My luck must have been shining those days, because on both my flights out (Brussels to Doha, Doha to Denpasar) I enjoyed full rows of seats all to myself!
Booking at the last minute and having no chalked-out itinerary was terribly exciting. As the two of us were flying into Bali from different countries and on different days, the only plan in place was to see each other again in a fancy hotel suite in Ubud. One thing we did know was that we wanted to go diving on the Nusa islands, so we had made some arrangements beforehand for that.
The spontaneous explorer
Can you solve problems on the spot? Are you good at dealing with some chaos? Can you enjoy just being while you calmly sip a drink along the water, under the sun? If so,you should probably try some spontaneous traveling.
It’s fortunate that both of us had impulsive and adventurous traits, along with substantial travel experience under our belts. And yet, although this kind of travel gives you an immense sense of freedom, I’m convinced it’s not for everyone. If you know that your travel partner needs more structure, it’s probably more sensible to plan some things in advance – trust me, it’ll give you some much-needed mental peace and lead to fewer conflicts.
We were also fortunate in other ways: this time around, we both had the luxury of traveling without any shortage of time and any financial pressure (which is not always the case). More often than not, a trip has to be a bit more organized so that you can see and do a lot in a short period of time. Better planning especially pays off for more expensive destinations, such as the USA and New Zealand, where saving on things such as domestic flights can really help keep that budget in check.
Whether you’re traveling solo, on a budget, or spontaneously, it’s always useful to be a real “Plantrekker” (Typical Flemish word which cannot be translated: close to Globetrotter, self managing). Believe me, if you’re not a real plantrekker just yet, impulsive travel may just be a hard lesson.
For me, Indonesia was more of a holiday rather than a travel experience, and this was a first. As you know, when I travel, I want to get everything done. I’m that person who gets up at ungodly hours and goes out early in the morning in search of adventure. I’m that person who covers a crazy number of kilometers and jumps from one adrenaline rush to another.
Indonesia was about letting go. It was about enjoying just being alive. It was about forgetting the work, forgetting the nuisances of real life, and just basking in the glow of each other’s company.
Eva Daeleman phrased this distinction quite well. “Going on vacation is relaxing, enjoying and resting, in any way,” she said. “Traveling is pushing your boundaries, encountering yourself and sometimes just working hard. “