Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Happened to Spontaneity?

Technology has its price. One is spontaneity.

It used to be that if you arrived in a European city such as Florence by noon, you could find a hotel for the night. But with the help of on-line booking, people book weeks and even months in advance. If you don’t do the same, you wind up staying in an inconvenient, expensive hotel that’s far from where you want to be.

In other words, you have to join the crowd. In many ways, this is a big shame. How can I guess right now how many nights I really want to spend in Nice? I can’t. But I have to make a decision anyway.

Phuket, photo by D.R. Ransdell

I suppose in some ways this new system is useful. It forces me to think about things ahead of time. I have to plan my summer trip in April instead of as I go along. But I can think of plenty of times when it was great to be able to change my mind at the last minute. A prime example is when we were on the island of Phuket in Thailand. 

Patong Beach, photo by D.R. Ransdell

We’d gone on a day trip to Phang-nga when it started raining. And raining some more. The tour guide nonchalantly explained that the monsoons had started, and we could expect rainy days for the next weeks.

Phang-nga, photo by D.R. Ransdell

My friend and I immediately booked tickets to fly to Koh Samui, which is on the dry eastern side of the county. Our final days in the country were lovely. But what if we’d had reservations on Phuket that we couldn’t change? We would have been stuck in the monsoon playing cards in our room.

Perhaps we should have been more aware of the monsoon season! But no matter how much you plan, there are always things you just don’t count on.

Koh Samui, photo by D.R. Ransdell

When it comes to fiction, though, it’s no fun to have characters plan their trips ahead of time. Travel snafus make for great fiction! Hence in my novel THAI TWIST, the Campanello sisters combat the monsoon the “easy” way by making plans to go somewhere else. This is why I love fiction. You can be sure to make everything work out.

What about your own travel spontaneity? Has technology made traveling easier or better for you? How far in advance to you plan your trips? How often do you wish you could change your mind?

I’d write more, but I have to book hotel rooms for Paris before everyone else beats me out. I’ll be there at the end of June. In today’s world of on-line reservations, that’s just around the corner.

Happy traveler with a nice place to stay!

For details on THAI TWIST, please visit http://www-dr-ransdell.com

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