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Strangers can give the best advice

Posted Apr 09 2013 8:09am

dragon boat

camden yards photo

Over the weekend I went to the Orioles baseball game. The weather was quintessential spring – crisp air, but warm enough to be sporting a t-shirt in the sunshine.

Sitting in the sun and eating a ballpark hotdog with fabulous company – I was unequivocally happy.

Somehow in the middle of the game we struck up a conversation with the couple behind us. An adorable husband and wife from Utah who were visiting Baltimore for the day. The wife, who was decked out in the sparkliest baseball attire I had ever seen and a smile that lit up a room, leaned in to ask the distance between here and Delaware.

“It’s about 1.5 hours away. But there really isn’t much to see there.” I said.

“Oh it doesn’t matter what’s there! We just want to pop over the state line and grab some food.”

She went on to explain her and her husband were in the midst of traveling up and down the east coast making an effort to travel to all 50 states over the next several years. We talked about how they were going to make it to Alaska, her recent jaunts to Hawaii, and future expeditions in the Midwest. She then doled out some words of wisdom – the key to traveling is giving up the itinerary. Forgo the detailed to-do list and just roll with adventure.

“I used to plan everything out to the last minute! That was until one vacation, oh lordy. I had an hour-by-hour itinerary – which we followed for a couple days. But he was miserable, I was frustrated. Eventually he just grabbed the darn thing out of my hands and ripped it to shreds! So from then on out we just hop in the car and go. In fact, we were in DC this morning, got these baseball tickets from someone on the street, and now we’re off to Delaware.”

Then she looked me straight in the eye and said, “Girl, I can tell you are a planner. Just give it up. You’ll have way more fun.”

And off she skipped in her sequined top and rhinestone earrings. Hand-in-hand with her husband, both with big smiles on their faces.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As a lover of all things organized and predictable I am hesitant to jump aboard the no-plans train. But when I think of my favorite memories, it’s the random, unexpected adventures that stand out. It’s not the perfectly orchestrated dinner parties that go down in my top 10. Instead it’s those last minute get togethers that everyone brings whatever dish they could whip up yet everything tastes amazing. Then somehow it’s unanimously decided it’s an occasion for champagne and s’mores because it’s Tuesday and summer. Before you know it an impromptu jam session is taking place and suddenly it’s 1:30 in the morning. You are surrounded by some of your favorite people, and have a huge smile on your face. It’s those nights you realize Life. is. Good.

It’s all about being open to the messages life sends our way. So girl, let go of the plans and enjoy the ride.

dragon boat

(or in my case, enjoy the ride on the dragon paddle boats around the inner harbor because I will always be 5 years old at heart)

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