Goldilocks' Magic Formula and Why You Should Care

The Spot of Joe Travel Self Awareness Goldilocks Structure

There is wisdom in Goldilock's ability to accurately judge the comfort level of porridge, beds and vibrators... I'm pretty sure that was the last thing she tried...

Living a free life has to do with figuring out how much structure you desire.

A sliding scale between commitment and freedom... A scoring system from backpacking across the world moment by moment to the crippling rules of the Communist Soviet Union.

Are they mutually exclusive? In short, yes. In long... Not always.

Imagine a trip with only commitment. Before you travel, you plan every moment of every day. You make the reservations for the plane, and hotel, and check out the travel times to and from the airport, and the museums (which you bought tickets online beforehand of course) and used your stellar spreadsheet geek skills to have a specific time for everything you're doing... And you set up reminders on your phone, and on your friends' phones who are traveling with you of course... And you planned out exactly what you will bring, and what you will buy at the gift shops (you checked the prices online of course) and weighed it to make sure you're good to bring your bag back on the plane... Is the pool at the hotel still open when you get back from the Alligator museum? You already know this and made sure to choose the metro instead of a taxi so you and your friends have an extra half hour...

Exhausting right? If it's not, and this seems normal to you, you're probably not my target market...

Now let's contrast this... Let that one be Papa bear when it comes to structure. This is baby bear...

Imagine a trip with all spontaneity. You don't even know where you're going. You don't know how you're getting there... You don't know what you're bringing, or how you're traveling... You feel like you want to go to the airport, so you go. You brought a couple things you felt like bringing, a shirt or two, maybe some shorts... Your charger and your phone because you felt like it.

And you took a ticket to Milwaukee because fuck it, why not?

When you got there at 10 pm, you decided to check out the hotels nearby... Not what you wanted... So after a couple hours of wandering around hotels (which you called an Uber for) you look at AirBnB. One of them is open, but it's not that great... Most of them were already booked. Plus you wasted a bunch of your cash driving around to the hotels...

But you go, and you spend a night... It's not the best place, and the owner's a bit creepy, but it's a bed.

And you don't have anything comfortable to wear since it's cold there and you only brought a couple pairs of shorts.

And there's a local farmer's market but that's about it unless you want to take 2 hours to travel to a different part of town...

The moral of this story is yeah. You need both. You need to balance structure with spontaneity. Most people cannot sustain happiness within the extremes of structure or spontaneity, with a few exceptions.

But what's the cutoff?

How free do you feel... Too much structure is stifling.

How safe do you feel... Too little structure is terrifying.

Ideally you want to feel safe and you want to feel free.

The amount of structure in this balance zone is different for everyone. You gotta get in touch with yourself.

Where do you lie?

Here's a simple scoring system... 1-10, Safe to Spontaneous... When you find your number, comment it and share why so other readers can figure out how to use the scale and you can make friends <3 forever

  • 10, living out of a backpack 24/7, going wherever the wind takes you.
  • 5, you book a hotel, transportation, and research the local attractions, noting a couple you want to go to. You make sure you have enough clothing to be comfortable and stuff to keep you and your friends entertained. Everything else falls into place.
  • 1, every 5 seconds of your life is scheduled. Everything is planned, every sneeze and breath. There is no escape...

Where do you lie and why? Tell us below?



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