Getting out of my comfort zone is something I try to do often, but honestly, it’s hard for me. So, what did I do? I went on a surprise trip!
See, I’m a recovering Type-A. I like structure. And plans. And lists. I like making lists about what I’m planning to do so that I have structure.
When I quit my job, sold everything, and moved to SE Asia in 2015, I had to let go of my Type-Aness and embrace the present moment. I couldn’t plan for everything. I had to let myself be in the moment. I had to pay attention to what was happening around me. I had to react in the moment, not something pre-planned.
This weekend, I did something completely out of my comfort zone.
I went on a weekend vacation and didn’t plan a single thing.
My friend, Rob, and I wanted to go somewhere together, and we were torn between a few places. I wanted to go to Scotland, but he didn’t. He wanted to go to Prague, and I did too, but then I got overwhelmed by all of the choices we had at our fingertips. (Traveling around Europe is so easy once you’re here!)
I found this company, Surprise Trips, and told Rob about it. He was more than willing to let someone else do the planning for him, so we decided to book a surprise holiday. My friend Hayley went on a Surprise Trip a few months ago. I figured if it was good enough for her and her mom, it was good enough for Rob and me!
When you go to their website, all you have to do is fill in a little bit of information: how many people, when you want to leave, how long you want to be away, from what airport you want to leave, and your price.
We also got to choose three “exclusion” cities – the cities that you absolutely do not want to visit. The company might take you to 77 cities so when you’re choosing your surprise holiday, be sure to exclude the ones that you’ve visited already.
Seriously, this company did all of the hard work: organizing our flights and hotel. We didn’t have to do anything.
So, where did I go?
Well, first, we knew we were not going to Lisbon, Venice, or Reykjavik. These were our three exclusion cities. Rob has recently been to Lisbon, I’ve been to Venice too many times, and I’m going to Reykjavik in a couple of weeks.
The only piece of information we got was the weather. About 3 days before we left, I got an email telling us it would be about 40˚F (5˚C) and light rain. This, of course, gave us no indication of where we were going because…you know…this is the weather when you travel around Europe in November.
About two hours before you fly out, you get the email.
We were on the train to Heathrow International when the email came in. I immediately got excited and anxious. Rob, stoic as ever, sat next to me quietly.
So….where did we go?
Oh hello, Country Number 37.
I was so happy to visit Brussels, Belgium. I had no idea what to expect from Brussels.
I didn’t know that the city would (literally!) smell like chocolate. I didn’t know that the city would have a calm feeling.
I didn’t know that they would light up the building in the main square in my favorite color.
I didn’t know people cared so much a statue of a little boy peeing. Seriously, there were tourists packed around this 3-foot statue than there were in the main square.
I didn’t know that I would enjoy not having too much to do all day. I didn’t know that I could drink so much coffee in one day and still sleep so well that night.
Just a few days in Brussels was all we needed to do everything we wanted, eat everything we wanted, and walk all over the whole city.
We got back to London exhausted, full of chocolate, and thinking about our next adventure!
Getting out my comfort zone to go on this trip was something I couldn’t have ever imagined a few years ago. I would have wanted to control everything. I would have wanted a complete plan. Now that I’ve done something so different to what I’m used to, I couldn’t be happier with my choice.
I’m glad that I’ve put aside some of my Type-Aness to live in the moment. I had a really great time without any planning. Thanks for teaching me this valuable lesson, Brussels.