How an Outdoor Overplanner Became a Non-Planner

Is it possible to go from an overplanner to a non-planner?

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In August we planned a 13-day camping trip in Colorado and New Mexico. He created a shared Google Doc and I had a 2-page camping list in my smartphone. We planned our route, made reservations at sight-unseen campgrounds and pre-cooked most of our meals after careful review of countless recipes on Pinterest.

Fast forward seven months and we’re planning a 5-day camping trip to Big Bend National Park. We leave Friday night. There is no Google Doc, no reservations and no pre-cooked meals. Oh, and no tent.We actually said to each other, “If we don’t find one this week, we’ll just pick one up on our way out.”

As if it’s a gallon of milk.

Or eggs.

And not the shelter protecting us against the elements of 37-degree nights.

So what happened in seven months?

Well, for one, the tent we took to Colorado and New Mexico suffered a fatal rip upon our return. You served us well, Craigslist deal.

Second, we’re both tired. He’s coming off a long three months at work finishing a project, and it’s my spring break and babymoon before the litter of German shepherd puppies arrive in April. This is our vacation. We don’t want to overthink or overplan it. Basically we want to shove our crap in my station wagon, grab a tent on our way out of town and set up camp seven hours from home.

Third, we realized in Colorado and New Mexico that we took a lot of stuff we didn’t need. Why pack foil AND the squares of pre-cut foil goodness? Why bring two boxes of quart-sized Ziploc bags? Who was even in charge of this list?

Fourth, we have a lot of the necessities already (minus a tent). We have the first aid kit, dishes, cooler, camp chairs, sleeping bags and travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. We’re both outdoorsy people so we have the clothes, the shoes, the jackets, the bug spray and the backpacks with clean water bladders.

Finally, I think that being a human outside means that being a human outside is not a big deal. It does become as nonchalant as, “Hey hon, could you grab a carton of half-n-half on your way home from work?” And the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

It is as simple as packing your car with crap and then driving.

And if, on your way out of town you need to stop and pick up a tent, eh. At least you’ll have one when you get there, right?

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