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  #1  
Old 9 May 2013
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Can you over plan and research a trip?

Think I may have over cooked the planning and research for my main trip this year. Before I have even left I'm starting to feel like I've done it. I'm sure once on the way (Sept ) it will be fine.

Its just a competitively small one looking at some reports on here, a 3+ week UK-Geneva Switz.-Italy-(Ferry)Croatia-Slovenia-Austria-Germany-France-UK

Found loads of things to see on the way round etc .......I'm sure it will be great.

Have I overdosed on this trip before its happened, anyone else suffered this I wonder. What happened?
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Old 9 May 2013
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I was doing the same thing with my little 30 day trip to the Arctic. So I threw most of the planning out the window and will take it one day at a time.
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Old 9 May 2013
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I think that all you can do is make a list of the highlights that you really do not want to miss. Make it a short list so that you have time for detours, breakdowns, hangovers and chilling out with folks you meet along the way.

With no plan at all, you could find a lot of backtracking and huge numbers of kilometers without seeing anything, and be driving right past some really cool stuff.

We start off to a country with a short list of highlights, and make the rest up as we go along. Works for us!

Merv.
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Old 9 May 2013
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Not very clear my fault !

I did not explain or write that first post very well. Let me try and clarify what I was trying to say.

I have "planned" the countries and areas I may pass through and "researched" POI along the routes. I haven't done any "detailed planning" such as times/dates/places/hotels/campsites or anything really ( I hardly ever do)

I totally agree with Mervifwdc and his comments its pretty much what I've always done. - Go armed with info so you don't miss that Roman ruin 5km off route!

My question was more regarding the feeling that I have "already been there" due largely to the research I suppose: thanks to the internet you can "see" it all with out being there. ( not literally all .........obviously that would be ridiculous on my slow broadband )

It may pose the question whether you need go at all?
Silly of course you should go !

There will certainly be times that I "find" something en-route quite breathtaking. Similarly there may be occasions when I visit something and it isn't quite as breathtaking as I expected, due to, too much " research" .......perhaps?

Must be having a bad day and can't get away until September...............all getting too much. I'll be fine in the morning
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Old 9 May 2013
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I tend to think it does not matter how much planning you do, or how much you know about the places you want to visit. If anything, it improves the trip. The one thing I tend to do is half research something, visit the place, and find out there is so much more about it when I look it up, that I wish I had known when I visited.

No matter how much research you do, it will never give you the sights, sounds and atmosphere of actually being there. That, to me, is what gives travellers their different outlook on life, to someone who knows every detail about everything, but has learned most of it off a computer screen.
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Old 10 May 2013
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Yep, you can over plan a trip, I call it procrastination, well that's my excuse anyway.
I now plan where I'd like to go, how much it should cost and when I'd like to be home, that's it as for the rest, well, let the wind of chance take care of that.
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Old 10 May 2013
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We as riders can absolutely overplan. It's what we do! I suppose some adventurers are fortunate to just strike out without solid plans but I couldn't do that. That's why I like HU so much--the experience and input from riders who have been there/done that. I am always learning something new by reading ride reports on places I'm planning to go.

Can we overdo it? Sure. But it's probably better than the alternative.

Plan for the best, be ready for the rest.
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Old 10 May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g6snl View Post
My question was more regarding the feeling that I have "already been there" due largely to the research I suppose: thanks to the internet you can "see" it all with out being there. ( not literally all .........obviously that would be ridiculous on my slow broadband )

.......

there may be occasions when I visit something and it isn't quite as breathtaking as I expected, due to, too much " research" .......perhaps?
This aspect of travel is explored quite philosophically in the book 'Skating to Antarctica'. (Jenny Diski, available secondhand for a couple of pounds).
It's autobiographical about the author's early life, and a package trip she did to Antarctica much later.

She has deep discussions with her daughter about whether or not to take a camera to Antarctica, arguing somewhat persuasively that to bring back photos of places you visit only distorts your own inner memories of those places.
Also, about how the actions of over-enthusiastic photo-snappers can affect the enjoyment of other visitors.

She then expands that argument into suggesting you should never look at pictures of any distant places that you may visit one day, because when you get there you won't be truly seeing the place for the first time. Do your research from text only, no photos. A bit difficult to do, as she discusses, and asks the OP's question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by g6snl View Post

It may pose the question whether you need go at all?

Interesting stuff if you're thinking about what research to do before going places.

(If you consider buying this book, the discussions I mention above only comprise about 3 or 4 pages in all, but are still pretty interesting despite that).
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Old 10 May 2013
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Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
This aspect of travel is explored quite philosophically in the book 'Skating to Antarctica'. (Jenny Diski, available secondhand for a couple of pounds).
It's autobiographical about the author's early life, and a package trip she did to Antarctica much later.

She has deep discussions with her daughter about whether or not to take a camera to Antarctica, arguing somewhat persuasively that to bring back photos of places you visit only distorts your own inner memories of those places.
Also, about how the actions of over-enthusiastic photo-snappers can affect the enjoyment of other visitors.

She then expands that argument into suggesting you should never look at pictures of any distant places that you may visit one day, because when you get there you won't be truly seeing the place for the first time. Do your research from text only, no photos. A bit difficult to do, as she discusses, and asks the OP's question:



Interesting stuff if you're thinking about what research to do before going places.

(If you consider buying this book, the discussions I mention above only comprise about 3 or 4 pages in all, but are still pretty interesting despite that).

sounds like a load of pretentious anally retentive bull to me!

A good plan rarely survives first contact with the enemy!
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Old 10 May 2013
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Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
This aspect of travel is explored quite philosophically in the book 'Skating to Antarctica'. (Jenny Diski).

She has deep discussions with her daughter about whether or not to take a camera to Antarctica, arguing somewhat persuasively that to bring back photos of places you visit only distorts your own inner memories of those places.
Also, about how the actions of over-enthusiastic photo-snappers can affect the enjoyment of other visitors.

She then expands that argument into suggesting you should never look at pictures of any distant places that you may visit one day, because when you get there you won't be truly seeing the place for the first time.
I'm well aware of those arguements and it's something I've pondered about over the years but I've come to the opposite conclusion. There are downsides to having a permanent record of a transient experience but without photographs my own inner memories end up so distorted with the passage of time that often they're hardly worth having. The photographs act as anchor points, a means of distinguishing between memories and dreams. And as the decades have rolled on some of the earlier ones have taken on a life of their own as the associated memories have faded to the point where, although I know I took them, that person is now someone else, almost a stranger. Sometimes I look at them and feel I'm intruding. I don't think it's Dementia

My conclusion - photograph everything to the point where it starts interfering with the trip. Five years later you'll be pleased you did. Similarly with planning - plan to the level you're comfortable with. If you've overdone it you probably won't next time. Some of my early trips were planned to the point where I can still recite the routing instructions through France like a mantra. I do the same trip now with absolutely nothing planned other than booking the ferry in advance because it's cheaper.
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Old 10 May 2013
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Yes, you can definitely overplan - and then you are disappointed when things don't go according to plan.

I'm going on a road trip for about 16-18 days starting Saturday. My plan is to travel from Victoria, BC to Mount Rushmore, SD, via Yellowstone Park and Devils Tower in Wyoming. I'm packing a tent, sleeping bag, air pad, etc. My planning consists of using Google Maps to have some idea where I'm going, making sure I have medical insurance for the USA, and checking the weather (looks like close to freezing in the morning, but reasonably nice in the day and dry with the occasional thundershower).

That's about it for planning. If I plan too many more details I'll face a disappointment somewhere along the way if something doesn't met my expectations.
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Old 11 May 2013
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All good points.
I'm doing a similar trip to g6snl, but a few weeks before him, and I'll be leaving from north west France.

I have had similar thoughts about planning and it's a difficult choice, but it is a personal choice. What one does, may not be right for another. And I agree with g6snl, with sometimes thinking, 'oh, have I over thought this trip', but I soon realise that without the planing I end up doing a trip that possibly hadn't been so fulfilling and wondering at the end why I hadn't planed it better.

Also, for me, if I get most of my planing right, in terms of the rough route I want to go, I'll have more time to poke about and take in the culture of the area as I won't be needing to be constantly thinking and making up the plan as I go, especially when it comes to 'it's 19h, best find a camp'.

What I am wanting to do better this year is set up my zumo with good maps and with POI and have it all mounted up properly. I often find myself heading to the tourist bureau for small local maps and information on interesting things in the region, and that makes for a good break to stretch legs.

The other part of the discussion is about how you wish to remember your trip. I know it can be all too easy to snap away at everything, but I am learning to be more particular about what I take a photograph of, often thinking to myself that just standing and looking at the subject has meaning and is worthwhile to do.

I found from a trip I did a few years back where I did some walking in the mountains of southern China where I kept a small travel diary with me, that this was a great way to record in the moment stuff. I wrote in it when I could. Reading this travel diary years later brings back a whole lot of other memories that photos don't always or easily convey. Photographs and a travel journal compliment each other very well.

And this is what I 'plan' to do this year, to take more care with my photography and to write to my travel journal more of my thoughts and experiences of my trip.

What could fail
Paul
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  #13  
Old 11 May 2013
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I think there's a subtle difference between planning and research. I always do loads of research (which I confess I enjoy). That doesn't mean setting out with a "plan" as such but at least we know what some of the options are and it often impacts on the route we take.

I have been amazed sometimes talking to people on a similar journey who have had no clue what they have driven or ridden past. But if the road/riding is the thing for them then I guess that's fine.

I am a great believer however in seeing what crops up and some of the most memorable experiences have been as a result of just following our noses. But that doesn't make the research at the outset any less worthwhile.
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  #14  
Old 12 May 2013
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Originally Posted by moggy 1968 View Post

A good plan rarely survives first contact with the enemy!
"If You go out looking for Friends, You’ll find no Enemies.
If You go out looking for Enemies, You’ll find no Friends." (Attributed to Native American beliefs).

That should keep your plan in reasonable shape..... It's worked for me.

And I received this advice a long time ago from a traveller I respect very much:
"If you really want to bring home with you exactly what you see, and how the sights and scenery affected you, learn to paint and draw."
Don't think I'll ever achieve that, but I think it's pretty true.
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Old 12 May 2013
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Originally Posted by otr002 View Post
Yep, you can over plan a trip, I call it procrastination, well that's my excuse anyway.
I now plan where I'd like to go, how much it should cost and when I'd like to be home, that's it as for the rest, well, let the wind of chance take care of that.
+1

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