I went to Paris in France earlier this year. It was my first time and since Paris is somewhat iconic to most people in the “western world” I was excited. It wasn’t my idea to go but I am glad my girlfriend persuaded me.
I like travelling to other countries. Both the one in the nearer proximity of where I live but also further away. I’m Dane living in Denmark, more specific in the area around this country’s great capital. The funny thing about us humans is that we sometimes forget how the rest of the world is when we live our lives in our own small pond at home.
Denmark is a country with just over 5 million people living here. In what we call the Capital Region there are roughly 1.65 million inhabitants spread across several municipalities. Going to Paris with that in mind where 2,2 million Parisians live together in the Paris administrative area and 12 million in the Paris region, it is easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed.
Did we prepare anything? Oh yes, indeed! Luckily my girlfriend is a very structured kind of the human species. Long before the departure, she read a comprehensive work about what one ought to see in Paris. She then selected the most important things from her perspective thus we only planned to stay for a single week. The place she found for us was an apartment in the 18th arrondissement. Next, she booked plane tickets and found the best two options for us to get from the designated airport to the apartment (and back again). She made sure that we brought the Paris-book, a printed map, plane tickets and she had also prepared lists with museums and their opening hours, a description on where to buy tickets for the metro and, yes, every possible aspect we could prepare from home was thought of.
I kind of already felt I knew Paris even before arriving at the airport in Copenhagen.
What some call planning…
Planning for something to happen is something many of us do. We do it in our jobs, in our free time, with family, friends and by our self. Sometimes we even plan not to plan, which is another discussion.
Planning for what we are about to do now or later can also be called preparation. It gives us ease in the stomach and even though most of us know that what we plan to do is not always what is going to happen, we do it anyway.
What we do is actually self-preboarding. We condition our selves for what we expect to experience.
Back to my Paris trip
Would we have had a fantastic and inspiring vacation in this exciting city, had we not prepared before we left? Most likely! Would it have been a totally different trip? Also most likely!
Instead of knowing the basics of the infrastructure, having an overall plan for some specific activities throughout the week and had planned time to improvise and explore, our week would have been filled with time-consuming stuff. Each day out of the apartment would be based on improvisation, coincidences and ask a lot of questions to a lot of local people all day long. I know that this is the way our great-grandparents might have done it, but living in an information society as we do it know, that would most likely be labelled as a social experiment abroad rather than an actual holiday with equal relaxing, enjoying life and giving into the cultural artefacts of the great city and country we visited.
A meticulous planning and step-by-step execution order would have ruined the vacation for me since that kind of resembles work. Having said that, I am really glad that my girlfriend did a fair amount of research and went through the overall plan with me. Are we going back to Paris because of the success it was the first time? Yes! Definitely yes! Would we return if the experience had been catastrophic? Not that likely.
So what I want to leave you with is this
I do think I am representative compared to most people in that sense, that an overall plan for what to come and an easy access to relevant and necessary information, is important for us to relax, grow, develop, thrive. Even if I plan to not plan. The question to end this blog post with is, therefore: Do you think employees are totally different from holiday humans in their need for some sort of structure?