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June 8, 2024 4 mins

How to achieve the right balance of plans and possibility

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is about how to structure a vacation so you
know you'll do fun things, but also have room for
serendipitous adventures when it comes to time. I think that

making plans and being spontaneous are often presented as either
or things. You're either the soulless sort who must plan
every minute, or else you are free spirited and open
to all manner of possibility. I tend to resent this
presented dichotomy because I do all sorts of adventurous and
random things on my vacations. I also plan like crazy.

As a practical matter, These things are not in opposition
at all. First, the reality is that in our world
of seven billion people, if you want to do some
cool things, you absolutely have to plan ahead. For my
family to stay at the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone
National Park last summer, I had to make a reservation
on May first, twenty seventeen. When we went to Hawaii

a few years ago, we knew we wanted to visit
Pearl Harbor and take the boat trip out to the
USS Arizona Memorial tickets are strictly limited. For this, I
had to know we wanted to go do this and
get on the system at exactly seven am the day before.
Tickets were gone by seven oh five. But once you
have certain structures in place, vacation days are often vast.

The day we went to the USS Arizona, for instance,
we got up to go for our time tickets and
pay our respects at the memorial. But once we did that,
we let the rest of the day go as we wanted.
Maybe we felt like going to our hotel's water park,
or maybe we wanted to read, maybe we wanted to snarkle.
I don't know. There was plenty of time to do
other things. Likewise, on a different day of that vacation,

we planned to drive around the island with an audio guide.
So that was not the day we were going to
go see the USS Arizona, of course, But within day
of driving around we did all kinds of random, spontaneous things,
even stuff we might not normally try, like going to
the Dual Plantation, where the kids had fun running through
a pineapple maze and eating pineapple ice cream. As I

look back on my life, the vacations that have been
the most stressful have been those when we've had big
groups of people and every morning we had to debate
the entire day because no one was empowered to make plans,
not an every minute plan, even just one thing, you
wind up getting a late start and then not being
able to manage your energy. So my advice for combining

the best of having plans for cool things while keeping
space for relaxing a random adventures is to plan one
anchor event per vacation day. As you plan your vacation,
think of one thing that would make each day memorable.
Maybe it's a dinner reservation at a place you'd love
to try. Maybe it's tickets for a show, or time

tickets to the Royal meuse at Buckingham Palace. If the
event is weather dependent, you might need to be somewhat flexible.
Choose a first choice day and then choose a second
choice day if the first doesn't work out. But this
way you know you're doing one thing each day that
will make the vacation awesome, and then the rest of
the time, whatever happens happens. Try things you usually don't

walk down an alley that looks intriguing linger at an
art gallery that turns out to be really cool. Plans
and spontaneity can go hand in hand. Indeed, a lot
of contradictions aren't really contradictions. We just need a broader
vantage point where we can take in the whole view.
In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening, and

here's to making the most of our time. Hey, everybody,
I'd love to hear from you. You can send me
your tips, your questions, or anything else. Connect with me
on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at Before Breakfast Pod. That's

b E the number four then Breakfast pod. You can
also shoot me an email at Before Breakfast podcast at
iHeartMedia dot com that Before Breakfast is spelled out with
all the letters. Thanks so much. Should I look forward
to staying in touch. Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartRadio.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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