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How an Unplanned Trip Can Boost Your Energy

By Ann Richardson March 18, 2024 Travel

I am essentially a planner, but I love spontaneous events. There is something wild and wonderful about an unplanned experience in your life, such as a short trip that takes you away from your daily routine.

But I went to Italy about four weeks ago, and it gave me a real lift. A mixture of the inherent pleasure in being there and the brief interruption to my quotidian life (“a change is as good as a rest” and all that).

The Birthday Phone Call

It all happened as a result of a phone call on my birthday in mid-February. A very old friend, an Italian woman from Turin, phoned to wish me well. So far so normal.

But in the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she was feeling somewhat low for a series of reasons. I knew that both she and her husband had non-trivial medical problems and assumed this was part of the issue.

Discussing our conversation with my husband awhile later, he said unexpectedly, “Why don’t you go visit her for a few days? That might be good for both of you.” What a lovely idea.

The thought had never crossed my mind. But it is not that far. About an hour and a half by plane from London where we live. Yes, it was possible.

I love travelling but have been almost nowhere since before the pandemic, because said husband has not been too well, and I never wanted to be too distant in case of need. But he has been much better recently. Yes, I thought, it really was possible.

Of course, I had to check with my friend to see if a sudden visitor would be more of an imposition than a joy, but no, she was delighted at the idea. She suggested that they would both be free in about 10 days and so the trip began to take shape.

The Trip

So, in late February, two weeks after the phone call, I found myself on a plane to Turin and a subsequent train into the city. And there she was, with her husband, at the station to greet me.

We have known each other for over 40 years, spoken frequently over the telephone, but had not seen each other for close to a decade. How completely amazing.

And we passed a very enjoyable four days. We walked and walked around Turin. Although it never stopped raining (the one less-than-ideal aspect of the trip), it is a city of colonnades, so we could do that without becoming soaked.

We took in the occasional tourist attraction, like the famous cinema museum which sits within one of the strangest buildings I have ever been in, known as ‘le mole’ (which means ‘monumental building’).

We went out to eat and everything was delicious. When we didn’t, it transpired that her husband was a wonderful cook. I felt so well looked after. Indeed, I said I would rate him on Trip Advisor.

And, of course, we talked and talked. We always did. But it was usually on the phone. Now, we were arm in arm, looking at the shops and sights of Turin.

And, best of all, she wasn’t really low after all. Yes, she had had some immediate concerns at the time of our phone call, but they were both essentially doing well. I wondered if she had said she was fine at that time, whether the visit would ever have happened.

All so very unexpected. And delightful.

Coming Home

Of course, visits of four days are quickly over. I found myself all too soon on the train back to the airport.

But I came home very refreshed. I had experienced the pleasure of a warm friend and a complete change of scenery. My husband was doing fine.

And there was something special about the fact it had all been arranged and effected so quickly. It gave it an almost fairy-tale quality.

I highly recommend a brief change from your day-to-day life. It can do wonders.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you made any sudden visits recently? Where did you go and who did you see? What was the impact on your life?

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Ann Mary

I absolutely LOVE spontaneous trips! I find that whenever a chance for a trip comes up I say yes. It is always more fun than the typical day to day. And the added gift is a lifetime of memories. Go for it!

Velma kitchens

My husband and I were married and working.we wanted to travel to colorado and we did.this was a once in a lifetime chance. I asked to take a leave of absence but my employer denied my request i gave a 2 weeks notice and quit.while this was planned we were so excited to must go for it.that was 1979 and do not regret one minute.we travelled in truck with top on it.make a memory.we would do spontaneous thiǹgs also.


How wonderful! I’m happy for all of you.


I’m not sure how I’d feel about this. As a naturally cautious person I don’t like trips being sprung on me and I don’t particularly enjoy surprises being sprung on me. It takes all sorts as they say.

The Author

Ann Richardson’s most popular book, The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, offers a series of reflections on growing older. Subscribe to her free Substack newsletter, where she writes fortnightly on any subject that captures her imagination. Ann lives in London, England with her husband of sixty years. Please visit her website for information on all her books:

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