Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

The Murky Traveler

Posted June 12, 2008

Do you ever like to toss your travel plans out the window and wing it on vacation? I call this the Murky Traveler. He or she is different than the Quirky Traveler who has a plan though unconventional. The Murky Traveler simply gets up in the morning and answers the siren call of adventure. No fear. Just fun.

I did this once in France and it just about drove my wife crazy. WRAL Television News was covering a new daily the non stop American Airlines route from RDU to Paris. I was given the “tough” assignment of reporting on Triangle area French teachers who were awarded free trips to Paris by Capitol Broadcasting Company. After the news assignment Cindy and I took off for a week of vacation in France. I thought it would be fun to just rent a car and “see what happens.”

The first afternoon and evening triggered much stress in the countryside. Inn after inn after inn we checked were all booked. Finally we scored a room late at night in a small farming town. The French eat late so we were fed a scrumptious meal with a great bottle of local wine. Our room was simple but comfortable. We woke up to songbirds and a big breakfast. Life was good again. Cindy, however, insisted that we take a few hours and plan the rest of our week and make the necessary reservations to eliminate the uncertainty and raw nerves of the previous day.

What about you?  When traveling do you enjoy throwing caution to the wind and ride the current of your heart’s desire?


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  • thefensk Jun 13, 2008

    Missed this yesterday but will try a late entry: I used to always vacation this way, at least on car trips when I was single. As you've seen, wives really want to know they have a place to settle down for their evening nap. I agree with the poster who said that there is no way you should ever attempt this during busy travel seasons ... not these days. Or maybe you should stop early.

  • Wheelman Jun 12, 2008

    All you had to say to my grandmother was "Go" and she was ready. My mother has the same gene and passed it on to me. All I would have to do is call her and tell her I was wanting to go somewhere and would she like to go. She'd be waiting when I got there. I love to get in the car and just flip a coin to pick which direction. Drives my wife nuts at times especially when we are in the mountains. I'll just take off on a road I've never been on and she'll want to know where we're going. I'll tell her I don't know 'cause I've never been there to my knowledge. She has a terrible sense of direction. Can get lost in the back yard! I don't know if I've ever been really lost. I just tell her all roads lead to somewhere even if it's a dead end and there's some beautiful NC to see on the way. I'll take a two lane back road anytime over an interstate. There's just something peaceful about it. The world slows down a bit and just being alive becomes more interesting. Makes me want to get up and go!

  • Legswilson Jun 12, 2008

    I like the adventure of "winging it" for the most part. However, I would never venture into an area that was loaded with tourists during "peak" season without a game plan! Your night in the countryside of France sounds heavenly.

  • bleslie Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks for the update riveracer.

    rogerkneebend - if you need any Seattle recommendations I went there last year. San Juan Island is a wonderful spot for whale watching.

  • Riverracer8 Jun 12, 2008

    The news from the fire is not good today. It is very smoky here, as I hear it is as far west as Winston-Salem. They are calling for the fire to spread rapidly in the next day or so to areas west and south, which will affect more residents. I fear for the safety of the firefighters. We need a good rain!!!!

  • rogerkneebend Jun 12, 2008

    A friend and I are going to Seattle in early August. I plan to follow some kind of schedule while in the city, but my "unplanned" part of the trip will take place once we go just outside the city and visit the natural wonders of Washington State such as the San Juan Island locale or some other outlying area like Mt. Rainier.

  • bleslie Jun 12, 2008

    Great story, Nate! Hope you and Rebecca are doing well and getting ready for another marvelous journey.

    I like the phrase "when the mood struck us." I haven't heard that in years.

    Riveracer - how are the fires downeast today and what about the air quality?

  • Riverracer8 Jun 12, 2008

    We traveled like that several years ago with some friends - dropped the kids off at camp in the mountains and headed southwest. We ended up seeing lots of "off the beaten path" things that we never would have seen otherwise. We traveled the Natchez Trace Parkway down to Natchez, spent a couple of days there, then headed to New Orleans. We worked our way back via a different route than we took so we could see more things. We never had a hotel reservation - just winged it, and everything worked out great.

  • SwtSuthrnSass Jun 12, 2008

    When I was a kid, we did this once. We had a station wagon with a tent and camping supplies and 2 kids in the back. The only plan was to go to King's Dominion the first day. After that, we'd drive and camp when the mood struck us. We found the most beautiful place to camp beside a river in the mountains somewhere in W. Va. It was probably the most memorable vacations I went on as a child. Maybe because it was the only one I can recall that didn't involve visiting family who lived far away.

  • MaplesMom Jun 12, 2008

    In my job- I have to be very detial oriented and plan/anticipate for possible situation. I have learned how to anticipate just about every possible scenario and have a plan of action in reserve for each. At home- just the opposite. As I said yesterday- i'd love to just take rout 66 and see where we land. But my husband would be terrified we'd end up sleeping in the car. My responce? So we sleep in the car, one night- the sun will still rise and we'll be rested! Formal events have to be planned to the most minute detail- vacations are for FUN!!! I'd still research areas we'd likely to hit, make sure we didn't miss anything exciting- but for the most part, I'm all about winging it!




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