Tomorrow marks the end of segment one. When we leave this lovely house at noon Saturday, all travel and accommodation until February 16 remains open. No rooms reserved. No flights booked. No real agenda. Hell, we're not even sure which countries or cities we will visit over the next six weeks. But I can already tell you that if this has been an experiment, I think I've already concluded which approach to travel planning I prefer.
The Brandons left this morning, but we still have this big house for 2 more nights. It was rainy most of today, so we all decided to hang around the house, relax and do whatever we want. The kids spent most of the day watching their favourite shows online, and Molly has discovered how to play solitaire with real cards. This gave Ursula and me a chance to discuss and plan our next move, and the next few weeks in Vietnam and beyond.
Can you imagine? Six weeks in southeast Asia to go wherever and do whatever we please. We aren't flush, but we have an adequate budget. There are cities and beaches and hundreds of historic sites from which to choose. Should be lots of fun for a guy like me, right?
After deciding we'd spend another week or so in Hoi An, we cruised the Internet for a few hours looking at house rental sites (airBnB and VRBO) and hotel rental sites (Hotels.ca and Hotwire.com). I also checked out train and rail schedules, to help plan our next stop. When it stopped raining this afternoon, Ursula and I jumped on our bikes and headed downtown to check out a few hotels and see what kind of prices we could get in person.
What we discovered is that many options are unavailable altogether, and others have checker-boarded calendars that don't have the time period we want. As such, we're left with options that are less than ideal, or we'll have to pay full price for a nicer place. In short, we've seen first-hand that the early bird does get the worm, and most of the good places and deals are long gone.
But don't worry. At the end of the day, we'll be okay. We've already found a couple of places that will do. Unfortunately, none of them excite us. Ironically, my annoyance today has been tempered by the satisfaction of knowing that my strategy to book the first four months was the right one. I can't imagine how many hours Ursula and I would have spent discussing options, then second guessing every decision we made. At some point tonight or tomorrow, we'll pull the trigger and make some plans. I'll keep you posted, but I think this experiment is complete. Planning beats spontaneity. Period.