My First Blog Post

No one does me better than me

Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.

Henry Rollins

It seems like an appropriate first post for my blog would be all about me being me, right? I know there are already plenty of blogs and articles and such that talk about learning to be you, learning to enjoy your alone time, embracing doing things solo, etc. Everyone has their own story, and you chose to read my blog, so you are stuck hearing a piece of mine. My me being me story starts long before a few weeks ago, but since this blog was officially born in the rainforests and little towns in Costa Rica, that trip is where I shall start.

In May, I went on a cruise with a friend/coworker of mine, my birthday twin, to celebrate our birthdays. It was just a short, four day cruise that left out of our local port (how lucky are we to have a local cruise port, right?!), and was a great opportunity to see if we could handle traveling together. While I am rather laid back and get along with most anyone, I am also hyper, and spontaneous, and sometimes make questionable decisions, so I’m not an easy person to travel with. We had an amazing time and made some great friends, and decided that we needed to plan another vacation together. Thus the Costa Rica trip idea was born. Then another friend wanted to join (a friend who happens to have traveled quite a bit in Latin America, and who speaks fluent Spanish…how convenient), and one of my best friends from back home wanted to join as well. The four of us would make a great group, and would enjoy the adventure and spontaneity of the trip I was imagining, so hell yes!

As trip plans progressed and I tried to nail down details for various locations and activities, all three had to back out for various reasons. Nothing was officially booked, because far ahead planning isn’t my gig, but I was mentally already in Costa Rica, so it was momentarily frustrating and disappointing. I wanted to go to Costa Rica, but is it safe to be a single female, traveling alone there? I haven’t really traveled in Latin America. Maybe I should just go to Europe because I have traveled there and driven there and am comfortable there, and can visit friends. My mom (yes, I’m in my 40s, but I love her and don’t wish to cause her any more duress than I do by simply being me already) is the original Safety Sally, and is going to fucking freak if I make a trip like this alone. My time off was approved, the trip was budgeted for, I needed to plan something! I don’t just want to travel, I NEED to travel. Traveling is my sanity.

Then I remembered that I love doing things by myself. I go out to dinner alone. I see movies alone. I go to the beach alone. I love me time more than most anything. Why would I not make this trip alone? I have traveled alone before. Okay, so I don’t speak Spanish (I can order a beer). And I have heard the roads in Costa Rica are terrible (I grew up on the backroads of Northern Michigan. Can they be worse than that?). And I have heard that your bags can get stolen on the public busses (shit gets stolen out of the fridge at work, for fucks sake). And I have heard…blah blah blah fucking blah. Since when do I fear fucking anything (except snakes and bees and getting down from high places)? Since when do I not do what I want to do, when I want to do it (even when there might be consequences)?

About a week before my not planned trip, I threw a toddler style fit (I couldn’t do this when I was a child because aforementioned Safety Sally was also the 2nd meanest woman in the world, 2nd to my strong, beautiful grandmother…so I make up for my lack of tantrum throwing now), complete with stomping my feet and throwing myself on the couch, because, I WANT TO GO TO COSTA RICA…and then I bought a plane ticket to San Jose, and I booked an AirBnb for the first of eight nights that I would be there. And I assumed I would figure the rest out as I went. And I did.

I have had a lot of fantastic adventures with a lot of amazing people, but this was, far and away, the best vacation of my life. Equally important as “uno mas cerveza por favor” (one more beer, please), I learned how to say, “soy alĂ©rgico al coco” (I have a coconut allergy), and I tried what every local suggested. I fumbled through some really poor attempts at Spanish that were nonetheless appreciated by the locals. I stopped at slightly shady looking places (don’t tell my mom, please) because I just knew they would have good food and cold beer. I ate foods when I had no idea what the hell they were, because I’ll try anything once. I hiked miles and miles of beautiful trails alone. I drove all over the country. I GOT TO SEE A SLOTH UP CLOSE (I may have an obsession with sloths)!!! I had my feet in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea…on the same day. I made friends with tourists and locals.

I made a change of no plans and gave birth to this blog. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I made spur of the moment decisions that I didn’t need input from anyone else to make. I laughed at my own jokes, and at my silly mistakes. I spent so much time in my own head that I discovered some fantastic places in my own mind that I didn’t even know existed. I embraced everything, especially myself and my alone time. I had the time of my life just being me.

Why the hell does everyone wait on someone to go with them or do something with them? Why does everyone get shy about being themselves? For all the good, the bad, and the ugly, I am me. If you don’t like it, I give zero fucks. I will continue to be unfiltered, unapologetically me. This blog will contain all kinds of travel tips and fun shit, but it will always have my over exclamation pointed (I’m sure that’s a real, technical phrase), bolded, capitalized, italicized, sweary (fuck you, it’s a word), hyper style that every person who knows me can hear my voice in as they read. I will continue to make questionable decisions and figure it out as I go.

I know this life isn’t for everyone, but I hope with this blog that I encourage even just one person to fully embrace the you that you are, and to live life on your own damn terms!

This is just my first post, and I am just figuring this whole blog thing out, so who knows where my mind will lead it. There will be lots of travel pictures (and surely pictures of my many failures) when I figure out what the hell I’m doing. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Welcome to changeofnoplans

Who I am

My name is Eryn. I live in Florida, and work as an emergency room nurse. I grew up in rural northern Michigan, and during my junior year of high school, I did what everyone thought I was crazy for doing, and went to Norway on an exchange year. That year abroad shaped me in more ways than I imagined possible, and instilled in me a need for travel, for experiencing other cultures, and for meeting people different from myself.

I took a long hiatus from significant travel when I had kids in my early twenties. My kids have now grown up and moved on to their own life adventures, which has left me the time to set out on more adventures of my own. I have fully embraced my independence as an empty nester, and have decided to leave the nest as often as possible to fulfill my ever present need for exploration and adventure.

How changeofnoplans started

I finished my masters degree, and as a graduation present to myself, went on a solo trip to Costa Rica. As I was driving around the country and hiking through national parks, I had plenty of alone time to think about the current status of my life, and about my future. While hiking at Arenal Volcano National Park, I had the fleeting thought of blogging.

I’m not sure why, but my numerous failures and foibles, my generalized ridiculousness, and my honesty about all of it, are entertaining to others. For years, friends and family have told me I should write a book. Anyone who knows me, however, knows that my attention span and commitment to things (or lack thereof) doesn’t allow for writing and publishing a book. And again the idea of blogging crept into my head, and suddenly seemed like a more achievable goal than writing a book…and less of a terrifying commitment.

On my third day in Costa Rica, I was driving from La Fortuna to my next destination of Bijagua, and I stopped in the town of Nuevo Arenal for gas and a bite to eat. I had been hiking all day in the rain, and driving for a while in even heavier rain. I was wet and hungry, and I just wasn’t feeling the drive to Bijagua anymore. I ordered a glass of sangria, and thought, “change of no plans, I’m staying in this town,” and suddenly it hit me. Change of no plans…it’s the way I live my life, it’s the way most of my life has went, it’s the way I like to vacation…and it’s the perfect name for my blog.

About changeofnoplans

The intention of the changeofnoplans blog is to discuss travel, in the way that I enjoy traveling. There will be an emphasis on being a solo female traveler, as that can present a host of unique challenges. As the name of the blog denotes, I am not big on planning, so travel tips on how to “wing it” will be plentiful.

This is my first attempt at blogging, and like my mind, I am sure it will be full of rabbit holes of ridiculousness that you must embrace your inner ADHD monster to follow. There are already a host of non-travel related topics swirling around in my overly active mind. Hang on, bear with me, throw your hands up in the air (because keeping your hands inside at all times is just too limiting), and enjoy the ride!