Friday, 10 April 2015

Why Do People Make Plans That Don't Make Sense?

In my last 6+ years of living, moving and travelling, there's been a lot of plans: plans made, plans changed, plans succeeded and failed.

For me, this has largely revolved around visas. All of my visas for NZ and Australia have been 1 year - which makes planning beyond that time very difficult.

That said, it's suited me very well. I don't need to know what I'll be doing in 5 years' time - I still scoff at the idea of 5-year-plans, at people going on dinner dates saying "So where do you see yourself in five years' time?"

Juggling rabbits? Owning the moon? Peru? Fuuuuuuuuuuuck off.

But I do like to have a very good idea about where I'll be in 1 year, and a fairly good sketch for 2 years. Having a guide is useful, and staying flexible is too.

In amongst all this, people often ask me things like:
  • "So why are you doing that?"
  • "Why can't you do that?"
  • "That's a bit weird isn't it?"
I've even asked myself these things too!

What people often don't know or see is the bewildering variety of factors involved - with two big ones being visas and money.

People asked me why I couldn't "just stay in New Zealand", as if being part of the Commonwealth means that visas just become this magical thing only unicorns have to deal with.

Particular skill sets, or a lack of, then become a factor. Yes I have skills, just not the right ones according to New Zealand Immigration.

The availability of particular flights, and reasons for choosing particular airlines, often guides some particular decisions (while blocking others).

All of this shapes decisions and plans like carving a sculpture, from something very simple into something most people don't understand unless they were the person who had to carve it.

And then, random events can turn up and change everything: hurricanes, breakups, a death in the family. These are usually frustrating (not to mention very sad) but can also be opportunities. In 2003, when SARS was breaking out everywhere, I got to change my ticket and visit Japan - something the original booking didn't allow.

These factors, from the long-term to the immediate, often help or force us to work out who we are - at least in any given year.

Do you think you've changed in the last year, 5 years, 10 years? What were the factors that lead to this change?

So here I am, sitting in the observation deck at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport, waiting for my flight to Chiang Mai (on an Adventure Time-themed plane!!!).

I'll be there for much shorter than I planned, before flying to Macau / Hong Kong before my visa expires, because extending it costs almost as much as a flight, so I might as well see another 2 countries, and I'm flying into Macau because it was cheaper and a better time than Hong Kong, but flying out of Hong Kong to Bangkok because I don't want to take the ferry twice...... you get the idea.

So, the next time someone tells you their plans or life story which don't seem to make any kind of sense, feel free to genuinely (and politely) ask what factors were involved - or just smile and nod, acceptingly, knowing the universe is full of this weird stuff.

And yes, I'm very much looking forward to living in a country where my visa status isn't an issue. Even if my accent means people ask where I'm from.

Update: My plane was not Adventure Time-themed. I'm devastated.


  1. I was wondering how/why HK & Macau made their way into your plans. Inneresting, innit. (You still sound damn English to me.)

  2. Did you get a picture of the AT plane?

    1. It wasn't the Adventure Time plane. Absolutely gutted