A Little Synchronicity… Plan, Who Needs Plan!?

Last updated on January 12, 2011

And so it is that I prep once again to leave the United States. My bags are slumped beside me, a crisply new book (Gun, Germs, and Steel) in my backpack waiting for my endless airport layovers and my anal-retentively neat morning checklist ready to see me on my way with all my power cords, bags, books, toothbrush and water bottles in tow.

Can I just say, I’m seriously psyched.

It’s hard to describe how right this feels. You’d think that leaving is old-hat now, I’ve done my fair-share of goodbyes over the past two and a half years, but this is different.

This trip feels less epic but yet very right.

Yummy ice cream at the Circular Quay
First day in Sydney I bought myself a well-deserved ice cream to help the transition into solo-travelness

Hours before I left on my round the world trip I was an absolute mess; I had been careening toward the breakdown for days and my best friend in LA found me curled in a ball sobbing on her bed. I released the weeks and weeks of stressing about vaccinations, bills, the “right” clothes for my trip, the blog, and the endless days of solitude and open road.

To call it anything other than fear would be a lie. It was a single culminating moment of terror. Brief but real.

This time is different. I know how to say my goodbyes as “see ya soons” instead, and I know I can come back in the blink of an eye (how spectacularly random was that 12 day turn-around time in Bali last fall?!).

It also feels so right. The fear is gone because I know the world is such a small place. It’s huge, but consumable…if that makes any sense…it’s no longer the scary “unknown.”

I also have no attachment to a plan this time around.

The “p” word has been thrown in my direction a lot lately.

What are your plans for Thailand? How long do you plan to stay? Will you travel?

No idea.

Truly. I head north to live in Chiang Mai as soon as I arrive and will be living with the oh-so-lovely Jodi (Legal Nomads) in a super cute house she found. Beyond that, I simply surrender to wherever life takes me.

You see, it’s been a solid few weeks in Shannon-land. Better than solid. Freakin’ awesome if I have to be honest.

And I can’t pinpoint specific reasons why it’s so awesome, but everything circling my life is aligning so very, very nicely.

Confusing Irish Road Signs

Joseph Campbell remarked to Bill Moyers in the Power of Myth:

Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

The path to bliss isn’t travel for all people, I get that. Some of my friends are jiving on completely different paths (baby-toting and all). But there’s something to say for heading in your own right direction, how much easier life seems.

I’m not entirely sure if any single decision put me on this synchronous path but it has me completely enthused for Thailand and the opportunities lying ahead, and all the excellence I can’t wait to share with you all :)

38 thoughts on “A Little Synchronicity… Plan, Who Needs Plan!?”

  1. Exceptionally cool.

    That’s the feeling I hope to get after a while. I’ve yet to reach the curled-on-the-bed-screaming-for-Ma thing. Not looking forward to that, frankly, but I know I’ll be a basketcase just before I set off on my first major trip. Ditto my first long-distance (more than 6 hr) flight, which might only be in a few months, which makes something weak and pink inside me start mewling pathetically. (Bit of a fear of flying, I’ve had in the past).

    But to feel comfortable with the unpredictability of it all, and to be able to follow your instincts….that’s precious indeed. Go you. :)

    • Mewling is a word far underused, I think I shall make it my mission to work
      it into no less than three conversations today! As for the cause of your
      potential mewling – medication? I’m not above medicating to avoid the panic
      attacks on truly long flights :) And if that’s what it takes to get you to
      Asia this spring then I’ll mail ya some myself!

  2. Shannon, great post. I especially love “there’s something to say for heading in your own right direction, how much easier life seems.”

    Perfectly said.

    Thank you,

    • Looking through your own site is seems you both embrace a similar level of
      planlessness – it can be hard to initially break out of the traditional
      lifestyle but the road is such an amazing place, I’m enjoying looking
      through your site! :-)

  3. For the first time in my life I am following my bliss. I am letting life take me where to go and also, for the first time, I have a feeling that life will take care of us. It is SUCH a liberating thing.

    • It’s so fulfilling to just have that inner contentment and knowledge that it’s all going to work out, that you’re on the right path and life is steering you into positive places! Cheers to an awesome year and safe travels this year!

  4. Hi Shannon, that’s a great book! I also enjoyed Diamond’s book, Collapse, about the reasons behind the fall of civilizations. That’s cool that you are comfortable without having a solid plan. I expect 2011 will be a year of transition for me and I’m okay without knowing how it’s going to end up.:)

    • I saw that on the book shelf and it looked fascinating! Once I’m done with this one I might have to go hunt down his other books. It’s sometimes nerve-wracking to first accept the planlessness, but cheers to a wonderful 2011! Like you, this year is going to be full of some new changes and new directions for me so it’ll be interesting to see how we’re doing in January 2012 :)

  5. Great post, Shannon! Truer thoughts I haven’t heard in a long time. I’m in Dali right now, getting ready to head down to Xishuangbanna the beginning of next week and then into Laos.I hope you have a great trip over and I can’t wait to see you in CM!

    • Safe travels Claire, and enjoy Laos!! Can’t wait to see you, I have been in CM for only a day but it has great food and fun people :)

  6. Enjoy Thailand and I think you made the right decision. it always is good to follow one’s heart, I think you can never go wrong if you do that. Great pictures, and I really love that picture you took of yourself with that ice cream. It’s like your life will be full of promise. Take care!

    • Thank you Steph for stopping in and commenting :) Now I know what it feels like to be on the right path, that sense of fulfillment – it’s something I don’t always have when I make intellectual decisions and “plans” about what I ought to be doing! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  7. Sounds like the planets are aligning for you at the moment Shannon. Without a plan, is in my opinion the only way to travel. Hope you have a great trip.

    • Thank you Jason – it’s tough as a type A-er to embrace the no-plan, but it get’s easier every trip when I see the amazing surprises waiting when you fly by the seat of your pants :)

  8. Following your bliss without a specific plan sounds pretty great to me! Although I know it kind of frustrates others, I love answering questions like, “How long will you be there? Where is next? When are you going to XX?” with “I don’t know. Maybe this, maybe that.” Really value the flexibility to go when we want.

    By the way, great book you’re taking with you. Have been thinking of reading Guns, Germs, Steel again – it’s been a long time since I first read it.

    • Yeah, the nonchalant acceptance of planlessness really stumps some people – they get anxious for me when I tell them I am going to fly by the seat of my pants and see where it takes me! The book has me hooked so far – it’s infinitely more readable than I thought it was going to be!

  9. And likewise… all those lovely positive rays you’re presently tossing out – will surely attract the same from everyone you meet.

    • :) So very true, a smile and positive energy go a long way toward making the whole world seem a lot more friendly as it all comes back to you!

  10. Love love love the title of this post! I actually have the word synchronicity tattooed on me!!! I totally believe that when you follow your bliss all of these synchronistic moments occur which only reaffirm the fact that you should be following your bliss.

  11. Guns, Germs & Steel=so good!!! Enjoy it. I don’t have a plan either for Australia and it feels so right :) Wishing you the best in Thailand!

  12. I’m so excited for you! Have an amazing time and keep going the way you are. (And to tell you a secret… Moving to Thailand has been a dream of mine for a while now, too!)

    • Thanks so much Ivy! If it’s been a dream of yours then you get over here asap! Could be a good way to escape the winter cold ;-)

  13. Bon voyage Shannon, I have to say letting go of my type-A tendencies and the need to have a plan was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.


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