The Best Laid Plans

by Gigi Griffis

Holly reading the Lonely Planet guide to Belgium

I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants a lot this year. In part, this is because I didn’t want to count my chickens too soon. I wanted to give my clients (and myself) time to see if this whole working remotely from other countries thing actually works. I wanted to see if I would fall in love with a place and settle in along the way. I wanted to always give myself an exit, just in case.

And it would seem the universe agrees with a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mindset, because every time I do try to make a plan…there’s a curveball in store. Like when I rented a place in Belgium for a month and only five days before I arrived a pipe burst, flooding the place. Instead, I ended up couch surfing/renting a spare room from one of the most amazing ladies I’ve ever met. I still ended up in Ghent, Belgium. But my time there was even better than I expected.

And then there was the time that I kept trying to find places to stay in Freiburg and things kept falling through until finally, only a week or so before I came here, I found a gorgeous fifth-floor apartment with a view of the Black Forest.

And then there was that other time that my couch surfing host in Grindelwald, Switzerland cancelled on me and instead I now get to spend three days in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (which, you may recall, is one of my favorite places on earth) and then another handful of days in lakeside Thun, a town I hadn’t even considered before my plans were turned on their heads.

With all that in mind, all plans are subject to whims, whimsy, and, apparently, pipe-bursting disasters. But, since I do have some plans, I thought I’d pause from my own travelogues and ask you for some of your stories, suggestions, and ideas. Below is my tentative itinerary:

10 days: Vacation in Switzerland (Basel, Lauterbrunnen, Zermatt, Thun)
two weeks: Visiting friends in Ghent, Belgium
one week: ? (mystery!)
10 days: Visiting a new friend in Paris and then attending a travel blogger conference in northeastern Spain (the least flexible of all my plans)

Have you been to any of the places above? Do you have a favorite view, restaurant, food item, hike, or adventure in or around these places? And where should I go for that mystery week in September? Any suggestions between Ghent and Paris? Tell me your travel stories, wish-lists, and loves!

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Montecristo Travels August 18, 2012 - 9:29 am

I think it is remarkable and shows your bohemian spirit. As we “plan” our trip around the med (leaving May 1 2015) we realize that much of what we plan … will just disappear when we actually DO. Flexibility is key.

As an Emergency Manager, I always insist that there be a Business Continuity Plan in place. Clients will often tell me they had one but stopped because every time there was an incident they had to deviate from the plan.

The key thing to remember is that it is far easier to deviate than to create, especially when things go bad.

So yes, your plans fell apart – but you have a plan – including reaching out to resources that will allow you to go to … plan B.

You really should go to that conference … I SO want to read your take on that and find out if those “things” are worth it. Paris is awesome … go.

gigigriffis August 18, 2012 - 9:35 am

Thanks! Just confirmed my Paris plans and bought my ticket to the conference (which has agreed to let me bring Luna!). Still pondering mystery week, but I just noticed a reader/commenter of mine lives in the north of France…so I may email her directly to ask her for suggestions!

esther August 19, 2012 - 9:26 am

Hi,have you ever been to Amsterdam? i think you will love it!

gigigriffis August 19, 2012 - 9:33 am

Hi Esther,

I haven’t, but would love to go!


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