Whatever happened to spontaneity in Travel?

Today’s travel template seems to be hell bent sucking the spontaneity out of life.   On hammering you into booking – booking tickets, booking tours, making reservations and generally requiring you to micro manage your time to the point where it can seem more like a deadline-driven work week.

Google any place and the first thing to come up will be “Book your tickets to xxx”.

Fail to book in advance and find yourself at the receiving end of an incredulous interrogation…people will be called in from the back office to point and laugh at you.

Sunset in Loutro, Crete
Sunset in Loutro, Crete

Here’s a little story about free falling…letting the time unfold organically.  I know it doesn’t always work and that’s the risk you take.  You can’t get in, the only room available is the most expensive or directly on top of an Irish bar, but hey, it’s all about the adventure.   And when it comes off….its awesome.

We were in Crete.  Crete is a huge island, the largest in Greece.  Its mountainous interior plunges down to white beaches.  We crossed the ridges of the White mountains and descended the zig zagging roads to Hora Sfakia, on the southern coast.    We knew that ferries operated to and from a place called Loutro.  On a whim, we packed an overnight bag and boarded the ferry. 

Loutro is car free, the only way to get there is by boat.    A pretty half moon bay surrounded by white and blue building block houses gradually became closer and closer.  A path followed the shoreline.  Small restaurants with checked tablecloths dotted the beach.    We trawled along the pathway, enquiring as we went for room vacancies.   About four in we struck gold.   

What followed was two nights (yes, we extended) of bliss.  We tottered between beach, restaurant, hilltop to a soundtrack of water lapping on the stones, and the perfume of grilling meats.    We bobbed around in the clear water of the Mediterranean.  

We watched the local ladies walk up to the little market garden and purchase the ingredients for the lunch they would cook.   Each restaurant made up their specials, and lunch and dinner were best selected “from the window”.

It was so much sweeter because we felt like we discovered it, or maybe it had discovered us.  

We chose our beach chairs and asked where we should pay…the answer was “sit, someone will come”.

The pace of the village seeped into our veins.    Small boats took guests to adjoining beaches, but we were settled in.    On the evening of the third day, we said a regretful au revoir to Loutro, the place that became an antidote for us to structured travel.

What do you think? Do you crave the freedom of no plans?

Don’t be a stranger, I’d love you to like this, or better yet, follow me. No spam, no selling, just pretty great stories from a couple of ordinary travellers.

Posted by

Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

4 thoughts on “Whatever happened to spontaneity in Travel?

  1. That looks like a little corner of paradise.
    I do crave the freedom of no plans but that is not going to work for me at the moment.
    To be honest, I’ve had it with holiday travel. I’m no longer very happy on a plane and the airport hassle is beyond belief these days. My husband – because he commutes by air and considers himself an expert at negotiating the various hurdles one has to go through before you actually get on the aircraft, finds tourists at the airport a nuisance and turns into some sort of deranged, despotic group leader and frogmarches us through as if we were on a mission and not a relaxing one.
    Luckily we live within driving distance of Northern Spain, the rest of France and, at a push, Italy and Croatia but I usually drive and it’s always my fault if we get lost or can’t find a parking place so I arrive stressed and in distinctly non-holiday mode.
    I’ve made him sound like a monster – he’s not – but I have it down to a fine art now where I try to book a hotel somewhere I can find out exactly where it is and where I can park. Once we’re there he’s fine and is happy to roam around unguided and free-spirited but the getting there cannot be spontaneous and unplanned I’m afraid.
    I imagine, taking a year out do do as you did, would be a different thing altogether but that’s not going to happen until he retires so, in the meantime, at least the ‘getting there’ part, has to be planned meticulously 🙄

    1. I tend to share his airport aversion, and so envy your location, being able to drive. We definitely would do that if possible. We just wanted at times to see if we felt like doing stuff, and have the luxury of mooching for the day if that’s what we wanted. Of course the flip side was arriving in (insert town name here), striking out in no particular direction, getting lost, everything being shut, ending up eating mcdonalds whilst cross and sweaty. Ying and Yang lol

    1. Exactly, and that’s the journey. But sadly the top office doesn’t understand it. I might want to see this attraction today, but again, I might not, I may prefer to linger at lunch. Can’t I just walk up and buy a ticket? (without booking three weeks ahead?) lol Thanks for saying hi x

Leave a Reply