Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

Advanced Planning and Holistic Navigation

The more I travel, the more I start to understand what works and what doesn’t as far as my comfort and calm.

In most previous trips I have been a planner. Type A. I’ve gone so far as to have plans for every few hours in Europe, which turned out to be a bit extreme. But in most of my trips I’ve read the guide book in advance, mapped out a travel path, figured out what in each city and park is worth seeing, and then worked with that. When I get to a country I have asked the locals what they recommend, but it has always been more of restaurant recommendations for a town in which I planned to eat at a restaurant anyway.

This trip has been planned a day at a time. People have been asking what my plans are for tomorrow, and the answer has always been to wake up, eat, and then figure out the day as it comes. For some people this level of laid back nature would be a godsend, getting away from the overly planned out existences that we’ve become so accustomed to. I’d no longer be a slave to my schedule. And yet, that laid back attitude has been hurting me more than I realized. I picked up a guidebook yesterday and started to read on Tasmania, one of my first major destinations. I plan to do a month on the island, touring around, seeing the cities, hiking, biking, kayaking and getting out into nature. But that has been the plan in my head and until I started really reading on it I had no idea if that was based in reality. The first page of the book was tough. My brain wasn’t in planning mode. But as I turned each page, they came quicker and I started to develop a comfort in the things I was going to see. I could feel a bit of tension drop when I started to have a future I could visualize.

It would seem logical then that my navigation style would be a regimented one. Get this bus at this time, go to this place, walk according to this map. But the more I wander and explore the city, the more nights I have a few hours to just go exploring, the more I realize that I prefer holistic navigation. At each intersection I can look around and make a conscious decision on where to go from there based on what looks interesting, or just what I know to be in that general direction. As long as I’m not working on a timeline, the vague sketch in my head of cardinal directions is enough. And as long as I keep a part of my brain on in the background, I know I’ll always be able to find my way back to the hostel.

I’m learning that I like to have an idea of what to see in a place, and about how long that place might be expected to hold my attention. But I like the freedom to adjust that timeline based on my actual feelings for a day and my feelings in person rather than from a book. And once I’m in a place, I’m comfortable walking in the direction in the most interesting way possible as opposed to the most efficient.

I’m also finding that for a boy who grew up in the suburbs where having a car a necessity, being in a city where I can walk is nice. I’m not even concerning myself with trains and buses. If the place I’m going is under 5km from where I am, I can walk it with no problem.

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2011 by in Australia, NSW (Sydney).

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