May 26, 2011

Vacation Planning 101 - Cotey style

Step 1: plan something really elaborate
Step 2: make plans (buy tickets, reserve campsites)
Step 3: on the day of departure, decide you don't really feel like it and don't go
Step 4: plan nothing
Step 5: pick a random location out of the blue at the last minute
Step 6: go

In the last five years this method to vacationing has led us to not hike the Grand Canyon, to not board a flight to Paris and to not go scuba diving in Egypt.  Missed opportunities that passed us by because of changing Army orders, democratic revolutions and post-deployment exhaustion. 

But, on the flip side our no-plan, ever-ready solution has led us to:
 climb Mt. Fuji on a Sunday, only to turn around and head to work on the Monday,

 driven us through rural Ecuador on the most eventful bus ride of our lives,

brought us to the Galapagos Islands for our honeymoon,

 encouraged us to camp tent-less on the beach in the Florida Keys, 

hop across the Cambodian border to Ankgor Wat on a whim

and embark on a month long wedding filled road trip across America from Colorado to Vermont and back again.

While our travel strategy is not on the surface rather well-planned, it is well-executed.  We're always ready to go and when we find ourselves with a few unexpected days strung together, you'll often find us hitting the road.  This last minute, no-notice travel helps us live without regret for our missed opportunities.

And while this Memorial Day weekend won't be quite an epic adventure quite like our others, we have once again decided to utilize our no fuss, no frills strategy in preparing for our four-day getaway.

On Monday, Phil looked at me and said: "I have a four day weekend this week, let's do something."  (We haven't had many two day weekends since October, thanks to the super-studious one, so a four-day seems like an eternity!)

I said: "Sure."  Then I promptly forgot about the plans.  I know where our tent and sleeping bags are.  We have an amazing travel cooler/picnic set.  No worries.  Then I remembered.  We're not quite done our year of eating in.  (July 23rd cannot come soon enough!)

I called my Mom and asked to borrow their camp stove.  No problem.  Later Phil mentioned that we should bring a boat to the beach.  So, I called my Dad and asked to borrow their folbot.  We'll pick up the stove and the boat tonight.

And.  We're done.

Tomorrow we set off for four days on the Outer Banks and it took a sum total of ten minutes to work out the details.  Swim suits, snorkels, folbot, tent, sleeping bags, sun screen, bug spray and sunglasses and we are ready to roll.

I wish you and yours a similarly planning-free, fun-filled Memorial Day adventure!


Jeanette said...

Have fun!

Stephanie said...

Tent-less camping on the beach sounds wonderful! Did you have to get a permit for that? Were there other campers out there too?

Teresa said...


We stayed at Long Key State Park & EVERY campsite at the park is beach front. We arrived as the ranger was locking the gate & when my husband went to pay, he saw Phil's military ID and gave us a site gratis. It was a really special memory, as it was our honeymoon and shortly after my husband left on a 15 month deployment.

The park's website is: and I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone interested in a very well maintained campground in a small part of heaven.


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