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I don't often leave on a unplanned trip on only a few hours notice, but that's just because I would have already made plans a day or two ahead. I am always planning somewhere to go. I don't need accommodations, because I usually go camping, so dogs are just fine. I live in the western USA, so there is plenty of public land where camping is free.
We keep my SUV loaded for camping most of the time, so just need to grab some clothing and food and we're gone.
Before marriage and kids this was standard practice, to the point where I once decided to go to New Zealand (from Sydney) on a Thursday, quit the job on Friday, flew out with a one way ticket on Saturday, return 4 months later.
Now I need to book a holiday 4-6 months in advance so deployments are handled while I'm around.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity
travel over 5 hours north of where I live for a weekend trip
Sounds like driving to Las Vegas from San Diego. The wife and I used to do that before the trouble. Many a Friday evening we'd be wondering what to do, then I'd say, "Vegas", she'd say "OK", and off we'd go. Now Vegas is a little farther and it's no longer a straight shot on a super-highway.
BUT! Grand Canyon is closer and a pretty straight shot north. We were just there for a couple of nights a week ago.
Back when I was younger and foolisher, my wife and I and/or kids (before we had kids and after) would sometimes pack up the car for a weekend and start heading down the street before deciding where we were going.
I am so flexible that I am called "free electron" sometimes.
I don't like planning as it can make you blind for the numerous opportunities of the moment.
My lifestyle is so anarchic, that one day I can sleep between 8am and 4pm, and the following day 10pm to 6am.
I go to sleep when I'm sleepy, wake up when I'm awake, go to work when I'm bored being home, go back home when I'm bored working. My biological clock has no respect for sunlight.
Having kids and an ex - spontaneity to that level could lead to an Amber Alert....
That being said, when something interesting comes up I generally try to make it work. Took off with the kids last Friday for a last-minute spring ski weekend. You only get about a week of skiing in above-freezing weather, so you take it - especially when you luck into a discounted hillside condo rental. Took about four hours to get it all put together, packed up, and on the road.
My schedule is flexible as wind when it comes to travelling. I have many times decided on a busy Friday afternoon for weekend trips with friends, which usually was trekking! Just one phone call and I am there! Travel freak
I think this sounds super-cool and fun. "Crazy" to me is taking your life savings and betting it on the Super Bowl, or quitting your stable job to pursue an acting career right after your baby is born. Taking a spontaneous road trip just sounds like a blast. I agree that most people find this kind of approach too risky, and that's a shame. This approach to life always reminds me of the line in the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by TS Eliot where he says, "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons". I say keep doing what you're doing and ignore the naysayers.
TL;DR all the comments (I read a lot though). I thought I would add my 2 cents here. I have noticed this myself; people in my circle of friends who do not have children are MUCH less flexible.
I have a couple of related theories:
1) As a parent you get used to occasionally having other people's vomit in your face and diarrhea on your lap, so you learn to flow with life's little hazards; whereas adults without children likely do not experience this, and are used to things being 'just so'.
2) On the other hand, adults without children may be self selecting. They do not have children BECAUSE they want to avoid experiencing these things.
Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant Anonymous - The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine Winston Churchill, 1944 - I'd just like a chance to prove that money can't make me happy. Me, all the time