Itineraries

Coming as a shock to no one, I am an obsessive itinerary1 maker when I travel. I love planning travel, and it’s not so much that I over-plan as that I start traveling in my head by planning. I’m actually a surprisingly flexible traveler, given my love of scheduling. I just like making calendars and lists of things I definitely want to do, things I might want to do, places I might want to stop if it’s convenient.

I usually make little booklets when I travel, but this time I decided to just wing it2 because I was specifically looking for journalistic color for a book I’m working on. And I thought the randomness of getting lost on Greek highways would keep it from being an obvious “Highlights of Crete” kind of color. We’ll see if future-me, who will be taking over blogging tomorrow, agrees with the wisdom of that choice. Present-me has yet to leave on this trip, and right now it all seems like a smashing adventure.

When I build itineraries to take with me, I try to make them halfway between a travel plan and a worksheet. I fill in the things that are time-dependent or set in stone, like hotels and plays I’m seeing and dinner reservations. But half the fun is filling in the blanks with what actually happened. This is one quick table-based design I did recently. (I love that art deco font though it works better in print.)

a recent non-booklet itinerary design

I’m not really someone who keeps a journal, so these kinds of documents are always interesting keepsakes for me. It’s a kind of guided journaling, I guess. Someday I’ll have to dig all these papers out of drawers and put them in a scrapbook. And then burn them as death approaches so there’s no chance of them ever making it into anyone’s archive of truly minor literary talents of the 21st century.

  1. From Late Latin itinerarius (“pertaining to a journey”), neuter itinerārium (“an account of a journey, a road-book”), from iter (“a way, journey”); see itinerate, itinerant.
  2. “Just wing it” means something different for me than most people, I think. Because my “just wing it” included extensive printing of road maps and hotel confirmations.