What would you do with a day if you had zero plans or commitments? I think the whole point of having no plans is to actually have no plans, but I am really bad at that! I just can’t help myself, on the rare occasion that I have a day with no plans, I still make a plan!
My husband is great at doing the whole “no plans” thing, but even when he wants to have no plans, a few seem to creep in! In 2019, for his birthday, he wanted to go on a “no plans” trip to Chicago for the weekend. I worked a half day and we headed to Fargo to catch our flight with nothing but the clothes on our backs, phones, chargers, wallets and a hotel reservation downtown … and the “no plans” plan of meeting up with friends the next morning.
After arriving in Chicago and getting off the train, we started walking to our hotel, stopping at a drugstore to purchase toiletries. After checking into our room, we immediately left to go purchase new clothes for the trip, because we didn’t even bother to pack clean socks! Thank goodness for the lobby restaurant, because by the time we returned, we were cold, hungry and tired. We may have been asleep before our heads hit the pillows that night.
The next morning was Ryan’s birthday morning. It was then that I found out he did have a few plans ruminating. There was a specific restaurant called “Eggy’s” that he wanted to go to for breakfast. After eating, we walked by Lake Michigan before our next scheduled event, meeting friends as they got off the train from Indiana. Our friends had plans all lined up, so we joined them in going to an outdoor holiday market and stopped at a few restaurants before walking through a park and bidding them farewell.
Back in no plan land, we decided to head back to the hotel and warm up a bit, which resulted in a long nap. With an open evening ahead of us, we decided to see if we could get small tattoos we had been talking about for a bit, so we caught an Uber to the older portion of downtown and we were both in and out in under 30 minutes. We started walking (and walking, and walking … ) back toward our hotel and decided it was probably time to eat dinner, so we did, then abandoned our walking in order to catch an impromptu late-night comedy show before going back to the hotel once more.
We didn’t have a lot of time the next morning, but Ryan wanted to head back to the same breakfast restaurant before catching a train back to the airport to fly home, so that’s what we did.
Honesetly, I thought the “no plans” weekend would be a lot more difficult for the planner in me. Truthfully, it was good for me. A vacation with no plans is a vacation with no (or minimal) pressure. No expectations result in no disappointment and I fully intend on making “no plans” vacations a periodic occurrence, but … I’m not to the point where I would consider it for our family vacations.
We are doing a Black Hills road trip this summer with the boys. It was their Christmas gift. We gave them travel guides along with a note announcing the vacation and they have been talking about various options ever since. We are absolutely planning this vacation! We will have two days in the Rapid City, South Dakota, area followed by a jaunt down to Wyoming to check out Devil’s Tower and then up to Medora, North Dakota, before heading home. If you have any suggestions for a group of curious, rambunctious boys, send them my way!
Heather Kantrud is a reporter for the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.