Spontaneity Should Never Be Abandoned
International travel may be the last thing on my mind right now, but there are many ways to be spontaneous every day.
Spontaneity can take many forms. It can be deciding to stop at that restaurant you’ve never been to before but pass every day on the way home, it can be deciding to try a new recipe on a weeknight, or it can be buying those discount airline tickets off of SlickDeals.
It can be something simple, or it can be something pretty significant, like that last example.
Spontaneity itself is a pretty simple thing, a straight forward idea. Though it’s often abandoned and forgotten once you get embedded too deep into a routine, like a splinter that’s been there so long a layer of skin has grown over it.
However, I think that being lost in routine, taking the same routes every day, completing the same tasks with endless monotony — that’s a big part of what leaves us feeling unfulfilled and unhappy with our daily lives, even when there’s “nothing big” going wrong.
It’s the monotony. It’s draining. It leaves you exhausted and it’s the polar opposite of spontaneity.
I’m typically not a spontaneous person.
I’d sure like to think that I am though. When I went to Italy in 2019, it was pretty spontaneous. I had a bit of time between jobs and I cashed in all the credit card points I'd been saving up for years to buy plane tickets.
Normally, in the name of saving time and money, I’m the type to go straight home after work, cook something simple and quick, not stop at a new restaurant or try a new recipe. Even on the weekends, I can be pretty guilty of staying in and writing when I should probably go out and try living. But let’s not talk about work for a moment. Let’s look at vacations.
Spontaneity is vital when you’re getting out of your routine and going on an adventure.
I’ve only been on a few “big trips” thus far in my life, but typically, when I go somewhere, I plan everything out to the last crossed t and dotted i. Hotel reservations are done, train tickets are booked, tickets for activities are purchased, and confirmations and printed, tucked in a folder, ready to rock and roll. The first time I left the country, I called my bank ahead of time, I did some sort of international travel form with my cell provider, and generally took a bunch of preemptive, unspontaneous steps to plan everything just right.
The funny thing is that my partner is the opposite — he flies by the seat of his pants and shocking, things usually turn out alright. On that same trip? He didn’t contact his phone provider, which was the same as mine, but the very same international service activated when we landed. No effort required. He didn’t contact his banks, but his cards worked just fine, nothing was stopped.
The reason I’m telling you all this is because there’s a happy medium to be found. You could be a chronic planner like me or admittedly unprepared like my partner was. I think there’s a perfect balance to having the nuts and bolts lined up without planning every twist of the wrench.
In both our day to day lives and our lives when we’re on vacation, there’s a need for a little spontaneity.
Spontaneity can take a normal day or an extraordinary day and make it into an adventure.
It's been over a year since I visited Italy, but the memories are still vivid. I may not have any other adventures planned since travel is risky at present, but I'm still trying to remember the importance of spontaneity in day-to-day life.
During that trip, the personal and professional stars aligned. I wasn't sure if I would be able to a vacation in 2019, but when the opportunity presented itself, I took it. Since international travel is out of the question here in 2020, I'm doubly glad that I had the chance.
I booked my tickets to Italy less than a week from the departure date. I’ve never done something so big on the spur of the moment like this before. It was a little stressful to get everything at home ready on time — while I enjoy petting random cats hanging out on Venetian streets, I also needed to make sure my cats at home were going to be taken care of.
It's still possible to be spontaneous close to home.
It can be hard to be spontaneous. We all have obligations to friends, partners, family, and our pets. That’s not even touching professional commitments.
Regardless, when the chance is right and you can capture that spark of spontaneity and do something exciting, grab ahold of it. Not every opportunity will work out. Sometimes, we can try to be spontaneous, but there’ll be a fly in the ointment and we can’t be.
The rarity at which spontaneity can be seized without potentially bad ramifications makes it even more important to grab it and run with it when you can. Spontaneity to me now usually looks more like buying a book or trying a new type of coffee I can make at home. It might not be as wild as traveling around the world, but I'm still trying to find little bits of spontaneity at home.