The Art of Throwing Darts at a Map- Learning to Let Go of Overplanning and Let Fate Take You Traveling
That's exactly what we did a few months ago. We needed a place to stay for a month between Lancashire and Glasgow, so we circled the basic area and threw a dart at the map. Actually, we had no darts but it sounds good. Rather, we closed our eyes and let the finger land somewhere. It landed on Wolverhampton. We're moving here next year as a base for our next phase of travel. Sometimes that's how it works.
It is often the case that we have a place, or places, in mind we'd like to visit; a bucket list. Mine is a horse trough. And it is also often the case that when we sit down to decide our next adventure, one of those places we've been thinking about will come to mind and we'll do our best to make it happen. That's often how it works. And it's a great idea. The problem comes when our budget, vacation time allotment, or map just don't coincide with our grand plans. It's easy to become discouraged but I argue that's when you should get out the darts and let fate tell you where to go.
Last year we had several wish list items we really wanted to include in our travel plans and, as luck would have it, that wish list remains intact and unaltered. It just wasn't going to work out without sacrificing the budget or spending more time on trains than at destinations. So we got out the darts and began throwing them at the map without really questioning much besides travel logistics. What we ended up with was finishing up the most amazing year of our lives, making friends everywhere we went, seeing things we couldn't have dreamed existed, and committed to the darts system.
There's some sound reasoning behind this method. Ideals of bucket list items are often inflated versions of reality, and while it may satisfy us to see what we've been dreaming about, they often often fall short of our mental mark. Plymouth Rock, the foundation of a nation, is so difficult to find, you'll trip over it. And you know what it is? A rock. Same thing with the Blarney Stone in Ireland except this one you can't even see and will need a chiropractor when you've managed to get yourself back up from the upside down horror. And don't even get me started on Stonehenge or the Tower of Pisa or Versailles! Too many people trying to tick off the same bucket list as you means you never really get to see what you want with any quality.
Going in and having fewer, or in our case no expectations allows all options to live at once. There is no such thing as disappointment because there are no expectations to get in the way. You are free to discover and each new discovery exceeds all expectations! Last year's darts brought us Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bohinj, Saint Anthony's tomb, Königsforst (and its wild pigs), countless new friends, and experiences we wouldn't have dreamed of, let alone expected. In fact, our dart method worked so well that we've thrown a dart at literally every place we're going this year, save one trip, and we can't wait to see what each new destination will reveal to us.
It may not feel intuitive, and it may not feel in control, but throwing darts at a board has proven to be one of the most rewarding things we could have done to enhance our travels. So grab your map, your darts, and let's get throwing!