Today, I started preparing the itinerary for a long-planned family trip abroad.
Most people I know (my family members included) do not relish the task of preparing itineraries. At the very most, they’ll have rough and sketchy outlines: hurried splotches marking cities and sites; broad strokes tracing paths between haphazard dots.
On the other hand, I positively relish making itineraries. It indulges a deeply felt needed for creating structure out of geographic chaos; for conjuring agendas out of pure possibility; for arbitrating choices made by contending preferences; and for making the most out of the limits of time and money.
When I make an itinerary, it factors everything in: arrivals and departures; travel times and meals; costs and options; allowances and fall-backs. I also try to find a balance between sightseeing and shopping; city surfing and nature hopping; people watching and culture vulturing. In the process, I read descriptions and reviews; consult maps and timetables; and devour histories and catalogs.
In short, I treat creating itineraries as a science and an art, and I regard every completed itinerary as a victory over entropy.
In a strangely contradictory and obsessive-compulsive way, itinerary planning is a Zen thing for me.
Executing the itinerary, however, is another matter entirely.