Travel planning is just a big jigsaw puzzle

Well over a year ago we sat down with a lot of ideas for a trip around the world, starting in Southeast Asia. We started to piece it all together slowly, but surely.

We saw all the pieces coming together, one by one, over many months. Our travel schedule took shape as a puzzle does: we laid out all the little pieces of our many destinations, activities, and timeline. How would we ever fit so many pieces together? We sat down and took a look. It didn’t take long before we saw how two or three edge pieces locked together. We would become diverted by colored pieces that logically snapped into place. Yes, we tried to make pieces fit together that really did not belong together. Bit by bit, the puzzle of our travel schedule took shape.

What about those pieces that from early on that can’t be found? Everyone swears those pieces are lost and usually they’re not discovered until almost all of the other pieces have been put into place.

So it goes with travel planning….We weren’t sure about being part of the morning alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang. Our hotel’s manager told us the monks would walk single file by the hotel to collect alms between 6-7 AM if we cared to watch. We stood to the side and quietly watched as the neighbors presented their offerings.

The tradition dates back to the 14th Century, and we would have hated to miss it. It was a bit like the missing puzzle piece: a piece that needed to wait until we arrived to click into place.

Another discovery when we arrived was the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, with its gorgeous collection and informative displays about Lao’s ethnic people.

The section of the puzzle that was Luang Prabang needed time to take shape. Our friends, Cliff and Ruth, who would be joining us, corresponded with us from New Zealand about places to stay and travel arrangements. We never got to the piece about what to do for the 14 days we’d be together in Luang Prabang.

We hadn’t planned to go to the Kuang Si Butterfly Park, let alone see a Peacock Pansy Butterfly.

We all love to walk and discovered we could take the ferry from town across the Mekong River for 5,000 kip (60 cents US) to hike and explore the other side of the river.

Crossing the river provided a sharp contrast as we stepped into the quieter countryside.

On one of the last days, we headed for the ticket office to visit the first botanical garden in Laos, Pha Tad Ke.

As we waited for the boat that would carry us to the garden, we saw a rather large spider in a perfect web. Anyone know what it is? Hint: it’s big!

Beth climbed the path and looked back for Joe, who was just contemplating the tree before him. Beth saw a study in green-on-green.

And more green appeared in this ladybug-looking insect.

With each place visited, with each memory stored, we created a seamless, beautiful picture. If we stood back, we couldn’t even see the fine lines of the puzzle.



January 2018


About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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6 Responses to Travel planning is just a big jigsaw puzzle

  1. Your analogy of putting together a puzzle is perfect! And, no matter how much planning goes into your journey, it’s fun to find some random pieces once you arrive to insert into your puzzle on a whim! Anita

  2. plaidcamper says:

    I enjoy how you examine each piece of the puzzle!

  3. We like filling in the blanks as we go too. I don’t know for sure but could that spider be a golden orb?

  4. leggypeggy says:

    Jigsaw puzzle—perfect description of travel planning.

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