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Article 7: How to plan for what you do not know

We returned to Rouses Point on September 4th, after spending a good month in Quebec, Canada. On September 9th, we hauled the Tarnhelm to land where she sits winterized and ready for next year's cruise.


At the beginning of this year's trip, we planned where we would travel, what, in general, we'd see, how many days we'd spend seeing it, and what we would do in our personal time. My plan was to sketch outdoors while at marinas. Most of what we planned did not happen.

While we were comfortable re-tracing our route from 2022, we did not actually know what we'd experience as we had not experienced it. The planning we did was to imaginatively experience what we did not know, so when we were exposed to new things, we always had to start planning again from scratch. Here are examples:

We planned on uneventful travel from Stony Point to the Erie Canal, New York. The reality was from there to ur first destination we met flooding, distructive winds, high heat, and lots of boating traffic. The high heat especially made us dump Erie Canal travel.

Upon arriving at Rouses Point, we decided why retrace our route back home? Let's make this our starting point next year. The decision to store our boat here over winter was made quickly after that.

Once in Canada, we discovered that the Richilieu Canal was far more beautiful than expected and Cambly, a suburb of Montreal that sits on the Richilieu Canal was a perfect place to stay for days. Cruising as we planned was largely limited from that point on.

What we learned (and plan for next year)

  • When you discover something that is better than your initial travel plan, change your plan.

  • Outfit your trip with a cell phone and/or tablet or computer that can access a stable hi-speed Internet connection. Use them to access current news and entertainment that probably won't be easy to access through tourist-area publications.

  • Identify and daily check local news that highlights activities. If there are no public events or festivals, local bars often sponser great entertainment.

  • Just sit outside and do your thing. The more you relax in public areas, the more people you'll meet looking for a chance to do the same.

  • Look for group activities you can join rather than set out to sight-see on your own. Many museums sponsor group tours, but also seek walking hiking, biking, and watersports activities, among many options. Being involved with people open up more opportunities than simply following travel guides.

  • If you have a disability, hire a cab or car service to drive you around the community for an hour or two so you can get a feel for the area.

  • Ideally, have portable transportation like a bike or scooter available and go out on regular exploritory rides.

  • If you don't have transportation, take daily strolls for round trips of 1 to 1.5 miles.

  • Ask people intelligent questions and don't just chat to chat or ward off lonilyness. The more you get used to having others help you out, the more informed you'll become.

What we didn't do

  • We did not do as much socializing as we could have. I didn't do my "thing," which is drawing, at all.

  • We made no effort to find group activities probably because we were overwhelmed just being in new places having arrived by boat. 

  • We should have arranged for a cab to take us around. Instead a guest who arrived by car did this.

  • We should have rented bikes, but in fairness, there was no bike rental agencies in our area. Next year, we'll bring bikes or scooters.


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