As in all things, there is a happy medium. I try to dwell in the happy medium.
When traveling you can plan every minute of every hour or plan nothing and go with the flow. And I guess there are good points for each tactic.
But I like the happy medium.
When planning an itinerary, I research broadly, reserve what is necessary and then research again to have options. There is a balance in traveling… you want to be a good steward of your money and time, but also enjoy the experience, soak up the atmosphere and savor it.
I really feel like we accomplished that this trip. We had a good mixture of exploring along with scheduled plans.
One planned excursion…. was a tour called the “Secret Cottage Tour“. I bought it for my Mother and Mother-in-Law for Mother’s Day. I thought it would be a treat for all of us, and it was!
We were invited into the home of the owners of the tour. They live in a thatched roof cottage. We toured the cottage and heard about its history, and had coffee and pastries to start our day together. We returned for lunch and again for cream tea! It was prepared and presented so beautifully by Polly, the tour owner’s 19-year-old daughter. And while we were NOT eating, we were driven around to visit picturesque villages. Stopping for some and driving slowly thru others, we saw many quaint cottages and beautiful gardens.
Our tour guide and fellow travelers were very pleasant and all around a lovely way to spend the day in the Cotswolds. It was all so beautiful and if you can only spend one day in the Cotswolds, I would surely spend it this way!
One visit was this home where Jane Austen stayed in this home while visiting family and is said that Mansfield Park was inspired while here.
As beautiful as these villages and cottages are, we did fair finding beauty on our own too….there is beauty all around this region. And having a car allows the freedom to go and do what you want, when you want.
Another on our schedule…. we visited a studio of someone we follow on Instagram. Alice of Caroline sells Liberty Fabrics. Her studio was just 30 minutes from where we were staying. It was an adventure just finding the studio. Katherine was so lovely. Helpful and kind and cute. A favorite stop for Mom especially.
See flexibility in a schedule can pay off!!
On another day, Pat and I went for a walk late in the evening. The cottage had a circular walk printed out for guests. It was three miles and took about two hours. It took us through fields and pastures, a village and the woods. It was incredibly peaceful. And beautiful.
Having a free afternoon to include this in our day was perfect. We decided and went all in the same breath.
Researching for a trip is very time-consuming and it’s easy to get pulled into the “doing and seeing” everything mode, or trying to please everyone. Planning is good. It’s necessary really. But be sure and take a step back and give yourself space and time to let the trip unfold.
Let beauty happen in unexpected ways.