Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Plans Are Like Maps

Have you ever planned a trip somewhere? I remember a bicycle trip a group of us planned from Toronto to Quebec City (809 Km/503 miles). We poured over maps and carefully planned every detail. How far we would travel in a day. Where we would stop for the night. What route we would take. What we would carry with us. What time of the year we would go. Our preparation training runs. Boy, we were prepared.

We set off early one spring morning and the weather was perfect. Our route through Toronto was carefully planned so that we would avoid heavy traffic. Well, we got through after negotiating 2 detours and 1 accident holdup and finally arrived at our first nights stop 3 hours late and barely made it to our motel before our reservation would have been canceled.

Determined we set out the next day along a old Highway little traveled. What we discovered was the towns were almost exactly 2 hours traveling apart ( a half days travel by buggy) and we would stop at each town to stretch. Almost immediately the old-timers sitting on the benches out front of the General Store would come over and start talking to us.

They would tell of sights to see and routes to avoid or better ways to get to the next town. We saw some spectacular scenery taking their advice and shortly we had decided to cancel all of our scheduled stops and make arrangements on a daily basis. On the trip we had muscle injuries, bicycle breakdowns that needed a bike shop owner to open up on a Sunday and somehow found all the steepest hills we had ever ridden.

But we had fun and I still remember it to this day with warmth as being one of my best vacations. That happened because we let go of the carefully detailed plan and adapted day by day to the surprises that life threw at us. And yes we did arrive at our destination.

We need to remember that plans are like maps. They don't represent the physical reality just our expectations. Be prepared to change the how's to match what is going on and arrive at the destination just by a different route than we expected.

Related Posts:

The Distance Travelled

14 conversations:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

ha ha ha, excellent advice peter...


smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks Bee

Comedy + said...

Ah...the best laid plans and all that rot. You need the map, but plan b through z often take over. I have spend a great deal of my life thinking through "what ifs" and it has served me well.

You are right though if you want it enjoyable then roll with the punches. One can be very disappointed if those plans fall apart. I've watched those folks too. Life indeed throws us many curve balls. We just need to remember to be thankful that we can experience them...

Peter Haslam said...

Alive does count Sandee :)

Ed said...

I once went on a bike ride with a friend, the idea being, as I was the local boy, I was going to be the guide for a half a day pedaling. After an hour she asked me where we were going. I said "around this area" thinking that was the plan. I was a bit shocked when she said she needed to know where exactly! Each to their own.

Peter Haslam said...

Ain't that the truth Ed

Comedy + said...

I remember a bike trip in the mid 80's. Motocycle that is. Multiple states and the other couple had planned this thing to the last second. It was awful. If you wanted to stop and see something along the way it was no, we have to keep going. So here's how it went.

Up at 4 each morning. Shower and hit the road. Ride like the wind until you got to the next stop for the day. Eat dinner then repeat the process. It was awful. Hey, I'm supposed to be on vacation here. I want to relax and see the sights.

We broke off from this couple about the third state and enjoyed the rest of our vacation.

I hate to plan things out anymore. It's kind of let's see what happens. It's a whole lot less stressful. It always exceeds our expectations too.

Peter Haslam said...

Been there and done that and had a miserable time until I like you; said enough and slowed down.

Jimi said...

I used to use the road map idea when I was a financial adviser. I had a nice little map that I printed out before meetings with road blocks and other fancy pics on it. People understand pictures I guess better than me rambling about how they need to plot their course. I had to use a lot of imagery in sales to paint the picture and a road map was one of the easier ways to do that.

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks for your addition Jimi

Savvyology said...

Great story & advice. I strive to remain flexible and live in the moment as much as possible these days.

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you for adding to the conversation savvyology.

S. Camille Crawford said...

Very nice story Peter.

Camille

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks Camille