Less Planning, More Adventure: Just Wing It


Not having a plan is pure freedom.

I admit, I'm a terrible planner. Every time I start my Google search, I immediately start to feel anxious and start to overthink things. Currently I'm sitting at Stumptown Coffee House in downtown Portland and honestly I don't have a care in the world.  

Let me rewind two weeks ago. For a long time, I have always wanted to live out of my vehicle and road trip across the great American landscape. I know I'm not the first person to do this - #vanlifediaries #porjectvanlife are just a few Instagram profiles that are dedicated to that lifestyle. But for me, being a photographer, I just wanted to focus on my adventure photography. I didn't want any distractions by traveling with someone else and I wanted to come and go as I please. So you would think that, yeah I probably should do some very detailed planning, right? Make sure I find all the locations I want to photograph, look up all the campgrounds I will stay at, and the list goes on. Three weeks before my trip, this was exactly what I was doing and I quickly realized that I wasn't having fun anymore. In my mind, living free on the road is supposed to be fun, at least that's what I think. That was the moment I decided to just stop everything. There was no need to stress myself out.  

What I decided to do was to figure out my first destination and then just go from there. I knew I eventually wanted to make my way to Vancouver, BC and I knew there was going to be cool stuff along that path. So began my "just wing it" trip. 

Now come back to the present where I'm here in Portland, OR sipping on some delicious cold brew coffee, let me say not having a plan is pure freedom. It's so easy to achieve this way of travel. You first need to keep yourself open minded, be friendly with strangers, and if someone engages you hear them out. This was probably the most important factor of my trip. I met some amazing like minded people that were not only a joy to talk with but also gave me crazy insider beta of places to go.  

With this way of traveling, every place that I've gone thus far has solely been because someone else's recommendation. Listening to other people's stories and experiences removes the tunnel vision one can get from a structured plan, it also allows you to try something new that you may have never thought of doing before.  

Other things I learned was beta on free places to camp, places to take a hot shower (which is golden info), places to eat on a budget, and of course the best places to grab a brew. Was I met with some challenges on the way, yeah of course! But that's all part of the experience. In the end, I think it's ok to have a plan in place sometimes, but at the same time keep yourself open to changes while on the road. Like they say, "when one door closes one opens," so enjoy the open road, the people and the places you'll see, and try to leave that schedule behind. 

Photos: Kevin Kaminski

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Published: May 24, 2016

Kevin KaminskiExplorer

My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from! I'm an Architecture Photographer based in Phoenix, and my current job takes me around the world to photograph hotels & resorts. My real passion, however, is...

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.

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