Travel Attitude: to be Spontaneous or to be more Structured?

I often ask myself how should I approach travel? From a view point of my being a spontaneous person? Or shall I adopt the more structured way?

To be honest, I’m not a fan of package tour kind of trip. I find it too predictable to the point that it bores me. I like the idea of discovering something that comes in surprise. That’s what I appreciate most in traveling, to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary facets of life. I am however not against the package tour. It caters its own target audience especially for big groups or for the more senior travelers. Like for instance, in our company, we always go for package tour in our annual out of town trip. Managing big groups with a size of around 150 pax is easier. But even package tour can experience mishaps and that’s where the fun begins ;-).

Now, let’s level off to define these terms:

Spontaneous – is synonymous to unstructured, unplanned, natural or spur-of-the-moment decisions. It falls on the “free and easy” mode of traveling. In my case I prefer to call my way a “free and flexible” because “free and easy”, in reality is not really easy.Structured – is synonymous to prearranged, prepared, planned, controlled, well thought-out. In short, the opposite of spontaneous. A “package tour” trip is an example of this.

There are pros and cons. Being a spontaneous person I believe is one of the most important attributes of a traveler. You go to a place and you know that it’s not about you but about the place you are visiting. You try to attuned yourself to the messages that place is sending you. I have to admit that sometimes I could not stand with people who thinks about themselves all the time, about how they will look in the photo, how they’ll dress up for this and that blah blah blah. Well, there’s a cliché in Filipino “walang basagan ng trip”. To each, her/ his own. I don’t mean to basag their trip. I just meant, too much is well, too much. Nakakairita lang😛  affected hehe.

Definitely, there will be times when things would not go your way and you have to adjust your sailing. A spontaneous person always find good in the misadventures. Spontaneous people know how to have real fun in the midst of mishaps. People of this kind are, where you can experience adventures to the max. This group of people belongs to the category of “Explorer”. I’m glad I belong to this category :-)) [please check Dr Helen Fisher’s book, if you do not know yet your personality type]. “Negotiator” is my secondary persona which I couldn’t disagree to say the least :-).

To be spontaneous has its own share of downsides, when you have no structured plan and rely so much in your spontaneity anything can happen which can mean occurrence of a more costly flights and when it comes to limited time – mismanaging of such. For instance, here’s some trivia about myself: I missed 2 domestic flights in the Philippines – Manila via Cebu and Manila via Butuan. For international flights I missed 3 – Singapore via Manila, Paris via Kuala Lumpur as a consequence I missed my flight too from Kuala Lumpur via Singapore. This costs me a very expensive lesson to learn. So I hope I finally learned my lesson after missing those 5 flights! When you have limited time, it’s good to be more structured. One thing I regret when I was in Kota Kinabalu, I missed to go for snorkeling in the nearby island, thus the gears I brought all along have been of no use.

When I missed my flight from Paris to Singapore, I acknowledged my sudden anxiety. I let go and just enjoy the rest of the journey.
My hotel in Phnom Penh was adjacent to the bus terminal station, when I read the sign “Saigon” I decided spontaneously to visit Vietnam.

To be more structured, I think the advantages are you get to see the most in a place within a very limited period of time. Efficiency is the operative word. You don’t think too much about your next destination because there is somebody in charge, you only need to follow a fixed itinerary. You worry less so you can just have a joy ride li ke pupils having a field trip :-P. The down side is you can’t stay longer in a particular place of your preference because the time allotted is over so you have to move to the next.

Based on experience, those structured ones have the tendency to be very, very impatient when things are modified a little out of their way. Along with impatience, comes irritation, annoyance up to the point of expressing anger. They are too structured that when things did not happen based on their expectation they didn’t know how to have fun at all. And ended up blaming other people for turning their day miserable. I personally experience it and I have to say that these people need to seriously grow up. People who does not know how to own their personal happiness is the least you would want to be with. Don’t you? 😉In this particular post, allow me please to be more structured. Although I am a very spontaneous person I can adopt to be more structured when necessity requires. As I’ll be setting foot in another continent outside Asia – I have to be more conscious of my time, to be a little more structured so I won’t miss to have some expensive lesson again.

I am going to post here my entire itinerary for my half-month summer trip to Europe  so that I will be constantly reminded of all my flight schedule, as I will be flying most of the time. I am hopeful and look forward to meeting good souls along the way to help me with the directions so it would be easy for me to move around.

Maftravelgraphy: Itinerary for 2012 Euro Trip




05 August 2012, Sunday Fly from Singapore to Athens/ Depart at Changi Airport Terminal 3 at 9.30pm (Stop over at Doha, Qatar 8.15am)  
06 August 2012, Monday Arrive at Athens, Greece at 12.50pm via Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport  
07 August 2012, Tuesday Fly from Athens (Greece) to Rome (Italy)/ Depart Athens at 6.30pm/ Arrive Rome at 7.35pm via Fiumicino Terminal 2  
08 August 2012, Wednesday Explore ROME  
09 August 2012, Thursday Fly from Rome to Milan/ Depart Rome at 6.50am via Ciampino AirportArrive Milan at 8am via Bergamo Airport  
10 August 2012, Friday  Explore MILAN  
11 August 2012, Saturday Fly from Milan (Italy) to Oslo (Norway)/ Depart Milan at 7.45am via Bergamo AirportArrive Oslo at 10.10am via Moss-Rygge Airport Meet Marija at the airport
12 August 2012, Sunday Explore OSLO  
13 August 2012, Monday Explore OSLO and BERGEN (?)  
14 August 2012, Tuesday Fly from Oslo (Norway) back to Athens (Greece)/ Depart Oslo at 8am via Oslo-Gardermoen/ Arrive Athens at 1.10pm  
15 August 2012, Wednesday Explore ATHENS  
16 August 2012, Thursday Ferry from Athens to Santorini Depart Athens at 7am Arrive Santorini at 3.10pm via Blue Star Ferries Look for John holding a sign: KaterinaandJohn’s Hotel
17 August 2012, Friday Explore SANTORINI  
18 August 2012, Saturday Santorini/ Athens  
19 August 2012, Sunday Fly from Athens back to Singapore/ Depart Athens at 6.55pm (Stop over at Doha, Qatar 12.50am)  
20 August 2012, Monday Back to Singapore/ Arrive at Changi Airport Terminal 3 at 1.40pm  

I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to friends who help me with my itinerary; give tips about safety and what should not be missed to see in those places I’ll be visiting. Grazie Carlo and Lorenzo (plus Annie :-)). Tusen takk Angel, Torril, Gunnar, Marija and Siv. Efharisto Vaso, Yanis and Aris – THANK YOU all for your inputs I appreciate it so much! 😛

St Peter Ruins, Malacca. When they learned I’m from the Philippines, they serenaded a Filipino song “Dahil Sayo“. When they learned I can play guitar (a little bit) they invited me to join them =).

PS – I am flying in less than 24 hours, if there willll be chance I’d like to give live blogging a try :-D. I’m not sure though but we will see. Meanwhile, I have to close this now to continue preparing for my travel ;-).

7 thoughts on “Travel Attitude: to be Spontaneous or to be more Structured?

  1. Hope and believe that your traveling Europe be real great – I’m danish but live mostly in France (Colmar), England (Liverpool) and Norway because of business – in Osko you have to visit The Frogner Park (Frognerparken) it’s an amazing place…. 😉

    Best wish… 😉 😉

  2. Great post. We do a mix of structured/unstructured. A bit of very broad planning before leaving, but then we make sure to go wherever the adventure takes us once there. Have a great trip!!

  3. Hey Mafey, naki gig ka pla ke kuya singer. Galing nya kumanta noh? napa wow kami ng binirit niya faithfully ala arnel pineda.

    In travel we follow a structured one pero flex ng kunti para me time magpakawala. 🙂

    1. Hi Sky, tinanong nila ko where I am from at yun naghandog (haha, the word) ng tagalog na kanta tapos kung marunong daw ko mag gitara – pinatugtog ako, di ako makasabay sa kanila kaya sila sumabay sa kin hihihi aba palakpakan ang mga tao kahit feeling ko sintunado ako hahaha

      I agree, I think we need a combination of both – structured and spontaneity depending on the situation. Thanks for dropping by Sky! 😀

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