My flight into Dublin landed around 8 a.m. Sunday. When I approached the passport control officer in the non-EU citizen line, he fired off a number of questions. The exchange went a little something like this:
How long are you staying in Ireland?” He asked.
“Til Saturday,” I replied.
“What are you doing here?”
“Where are you going to visit?”
“Um, Dublin City, Cork, Dingle, the Cliffs…”
“Where are you staying?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“You don’t have accommodations?”
“No… I’ll figure it out.”
“Do you have friends here, or family?”
“When are you leaving?”
I repeated, “This Saturday.”
Casting me a doubtful look, he asked to see proof of my return trip. I dutifully pulled up the American Airlines app on my mobile phone.
He stamped me through. (Apparently satisfied that, despite my laissez faire approach to accommodations, I wasn’t an interloper planning to squat indefinitely in his country.)
Call it unusual, risky, or downright extreme, but this is what I do. I don’t plan, I don’t schedule, I don’t pre-book.
I packed for Ireland less than two hours before my flight took off. I did not have one booking secured — no beds, no buses, no tours. I stepped out of the airport with the wind at my back and the possibilities endless — one of the things that excites me most about foreign travel.
My “style” didn’t come to be overnight; it evolved. I’ve had enough experiences traveling to know that an inflexible itinerary = a trapped Julie. After losing money on itinerary changes or missing out on newly discovered options, I gradually decided, when it came to travel, to let things come to be.
On each trip, I push the boundaries a little more. And I wake up every day full of possibilities.
At this very moment, I’m on a bus leaving Galway, heading east to Dublin. One week ago, I had no plans to go to Galway. It wasn’t on my list of prospective stops. But after hearing a few word-of-mouth recommendations, I decided to add it as a stop mid-trip. Had I been pre-booked and pre-itinerized, I wouldn’t not have been able to go with the flow and experience this amazing city, deemed “the most Irish” in all of Ireland.
Give it a try. I think you’ll find that you’ll open yourself up to spur-of-the-moment opportunities not otherwise possible. And that’s a really special way to travel.