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In the era of COVID, road trips are all the rage. Some people thrive on the road, others are working on it.

As my wife and I sat to “plan out” our next trip, I was struck by a recent increase in her awareness. She noticed that she felt better and preferred going with the flow rather than getting bogged down in an hour-by-hour itinerary. Connecting with her authentic self, she felt pulled away from her best when forced down a road of too much planning. I too like to go with the flow, but feel better suited to do so when I have planned the crap out of a trip. My level of planning can leave her feeling rushed, anxious, and generally not enjoying our time on the road.

Planning Tip: Identify the number one priority for each person on the trip at the start. Perhaps it’s to see a particular site, perhaps it’s to simply relax. Know what the other person needs from this trip in order to give them energy and joy.

Could I not plan anything and just show up? Sure! I could. And I would likely still enjoy myself to a large extent. Could she stick with a regimented plan of our crafting? Sure! And she has many times—and made the best of it. Just because we have always been one way or the other, always done something one way or another, doesn’t rule out the opportunity for choice in the current moment. This can be the most difficult step. Accepting choice offers us each space to practice and grow. In this moment, this time, I have the autonomy to choose my response. Each breath, each moment, offers a new choice.

Key Steps to Assist in Planning and Execution:

  1. Accurately identify your planning and decision-making styles/preferences.
  2. Recognize and accept your choice in sticking with your style.
  3. Play to both of your individual strengths.
  4. Stay flexible and honor one another.
  5. Show up grounded and be present!

Each planning approach offers its unique benefits and has the potential to yield joy and fun! In our case, I plan to the extent where I am satisfied, but not super comfortable: making reservations for 2 nights instead of all 4; booking activities for 2 days, and leaving the others open. Knowing that key details are taken care of gives me peace of mind to enjoy the moments in between. For Tia, we build in nights with no reservations and days with no set agenda, giving her a sense of flow that is natural and unencumbered.

Travel Tip: On the road, when you start getting in your head about your own needs and preferences, reach out, hold hands, let yourself reconnect with your body and share space with your partner. You’re in it together. Honor their part in the experience while allowing healthy pre-agreed upon boundaries to hold your own dignity.

Look around! Let the small obstacles and uncertainties serve as opportunities to practice grounding. Each passing moment offers a chance to choose behavior and words that align with your best self.