Experimenting With Spontaneity


I am the type of person who lives for structure and organization. That being said, I’ve always envied people with an innate desire for spontaneity. I’d always imagine that going on a spontaneous trip would be stressful and expensive. My roommate and I discussed our spring break plans throughout the quarter, mentioning that we’d prefer to get out of the city and into nature. However, the quarter went on, and we both found that we were way too busy to plan out this trip in great detail. Finals week came and went, and we hadn’t even decided where exactly we were going. On the Monday of spring break, we finally got it together. We had a bare-boned outline that included getting up at 4am the next day, camping for one night in South Cumberland State Park in southern TN, hiking about nine miles the next day, staying in Nashville for two nights, and then driving back to Chicago on Friday.

It didn’t take long for me to notice that this spontaneous trip was surprisingly less stressful than trips I’ve taken in the past where I have everything I want to do and see planned out to a T. I hadn’t constructed any expectations for the trip in advance, so even if things went awry (which they did), it didn’t seem like as big of a deal. It was much easier to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and stay positive. It just felt like part of the adventure. Likewise, when things went exceptionally well, I was more appreciative because it felt like we just got lucky.

It snowed in southern TN the night we were supposed to camp. We were a bit disappointed, but the sound of a warm bed sounded much more appealing. We were able to make the most of it. We discovered the coziest motel called Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse Lodge. We walked across the street, ate at the glorious Waffle House establishment for dinner, and went to bed early after a long day of driving. Our hikes the next day were so enjoyable and had the most amazing views from the edge of the plateau. While in Nashville, we explored local boutiques around the city, attended a comedy show, and checked out the bar scene which included listening to an array of live music. On the drive home, we decided to stick with this theme of spontaneity by making a short detour to Horse Cave, KY. We zip lined over a giant sinkhole at the Hidden River Cave and American Cave Museum.

My advice - experiment with spontaneity, especially if you tend to have everything always researched and planned out. You’d be surprised at how stress-free it actually is

 and how the lack of expectations can turn into such a plus. These experiments don’t need to be as big of an ordeal as a road trip. They can simply be a Sunday afternoon. Dedicate some time to just go with the flow.