Happy new year. A couple years ago, the world was full of unknowns and I used to spend a lot of time planning. Not obsessively, but enough to know, in detail, the where and whens of an event. I’d scribble directions onto a post-it even though I had a smartphone, take screenshots of pages on my phone in case I didn’t have service, and go to the ATM well in advance. As I grew used to Boston and Cambridge, that feeling was replaced by something I, at the time, called loss of skill, but now recognize as a mix of laziness and comfort. I didn’t plan things as neatly, and didn’t really have to.
This is changing as I’m preparing to move to the west coast. The first thing I’m planning is my family’s road trip, from AZ to SF. I’m feeling pretty good about the planning I’ve been doing, both the plan, and the act of planning.
Planning road trips requires a firm grasp of time and space, which translates to lots of CMD+shift+]’ing (shifting tabs) from google maps to trip advisor, kayak, plain ol’ google searches, and a google drive spreadsheet. With only my start and end points defined, I found the first steps of planning difficult, since geography and time were so dependent. The thing I found most useful was knowing the driving distances between major landmarks and cities, and using a pen + paper to shift around these chunks of time. Here’s iteration 3 on a napkin:
I found myself drawing this basic 2×7 grid over and over again. I also wanted to accurately represent the blocks of time. When I got home, I printed out a 2×7 grid with 24 smaller segments in each day. It worked well, for Itineraries A->E, but I kept writing out the hours…over and over again. I also had to follow the lines carefully with my finger for things in the middle of the sheet of paper.
So I updated the template a little:
And here’s the final itinerary, Itinerary I, with everything written in.