I want to tell you about the time *I* took a mystery trip... and it's not going to be what you think it is. Let me set the stage - it's late summer of 2005 and I'm a newly single, 26 year old. I'm working a job I love; but for a human that was the worst. On Fridays, in the summer only, the office was only open for a half day, so I basically had long weekends all summer.
At this time, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Program worked on vouchers. Once you earned a reward flight, they would mail you a paper certificate. You could book your flight ahead of time with the voucher number, or you could show up at the airport with it and get on any flight. The vouchers were fully transferable, which is important for this story.
Next important tidbit: eBay was about 10 years old and had really caught on. I first checked eBay for EVERYTHING I was planning to buy. I would sit anxiously until the last moments of an auction, then swoop in with a last minute, winning bid. I was an eBay ninja (in my mind). I thought, if I can shop for "things" on eBay, what about travel?
I searched for airline tickets and it unlocked a whole new world. People with soon-to-expire reward vouchers were auctioning them! And cheap! I bid on one...and I WON! It would expire in a month, where would I go? What would I do?
One Friday, I woke up and I'd just had enough. I packed a small duffle without having a plan or really thinking too much about its contents and went to work like usual. When the half day was over, I took myself to the airport, flight voucher in hand, and asked when the next flight was leaving and where was it going?
I had two options: Detroit or Phoenix. I chose Phoenix. I'd never been to Arizona and this seemed like the perfect time. I didn't tell anyone that I was leaving, which in hind site, was probably not the smartest decision ever; but oh to be that kind of carefree!
The beauty of the vouchers was that you didn't have to specify a return, so I didn't. I got on that plane and took off. Travel was a bit easier back then, or maybe I was less of a planner? But, I rented a car when I got there and made a hotel reservation. That's the exciting part of the story.
The takeaway? I gifted myself a Mystery Trip. All that mattered was seeing a new place and going. It wasn't about spending hours finding the best location, best deal on a hotel, choosing what place had the best food. It was about adventure! It was about spontaneity! And it. Was. Awesome.
I'd love to do this again one day, but for now I get the same level of excitement in planning Mystery Trips for others. It's the best of both worlds. I do all the research for you, shop for the best rates, identify what would be perfect for YOU, and give you a list of what to pack (turns out that's kind of important).
The morning you leave, you find out where you're going and what there is to do at the destination. You don't get hours to research and find and decide, you just go! And no, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But for those that DO have a taste for it - it will be incredible! Something magical happens when you enter an experience without expectation or pretense. You become very present and everything is a surprise joy.
So, the question is... do you have a palette for adventure?