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On impulse

I fancy myself spontaneous, but in reality, I’m not. I’m a planner by nature. I make lists. I categorize things.

I love adventure, and might plan a trip last minute, but I still don’t leave without hotel reservations confirmed, a route planned, and a loose budget in mind.


Even when we decided to drive a couple of extra hours on our way back from Miami last month, we secured a new hotel room first. (Turned out to be a good idea, since they were booked up by the time we arrived.)

But one year in college, I came very close to total spontaneity. It was during my year of transition from California to Arizona when I was still establishing residency in Tucson, and not yet going to school full time.

I was driving home from the Phoenix airport after a spring ski trip in Telluride with my parents. As I passed the exit for I-8 to San Diego, I was really, really tempted to head west for an impromptu road trip to visit friends.

Really, really, really tempted.

Problem was, I had winter clothes in my suitcase, no money for a hotel, and no idea if any of my friends would be around.

Le sigh.

But for the next hour, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. It grew and grew until it took over, which is how I found myself calling people to see if they were up for a quick, unexpected visit from moi. Affirmatives received, I repacked, stashed some snacks and soda in my car, gassed up, and hit the road again.

Not exactly the spontaneous turn off of I-10 I had envisioned, but close enough for me. And I had a blast. I visited friends in San Diego, stopped by West Covina (near LA) to see my cousins, and sped up 101 to hang with a high school buddy at UC Santa Barbara.

I’ve never regretted that not-quite-impromptu road trip. Maybe one of these days I’ll do something truly spontaneous. You can be sure I’ll let you know.

What’s the most impulsive thing you’ve ever done? And I don’t mean choosing something different on the menu at lunch. 😉 Come on, spill.

Photo credit: ENDLESS ROAD © Verena Lüdemann |

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  1. Reply

    Sounds like a great trip. Good for you. I don’t often do impulse travel for long trips, but I do like to just “go” somewhere for a day trip spontaneously!


    • Reply

      We like to do day trips too, Christine. It’s been a while, but once the tourists leave town, we’ll probably start going back into DC on the occasional weekend too.

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