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Now that we've travelled a couple of times together, Mark and I have figure out what the roles are in the Grand Planning Experience for our trip. Basically, I plan like an OCD maniac, and he sits back and laughs at me, occassionally going out to pick up books or maps, and otherwise stays out of my way.

I was reading through the travelogue for our first trip to Scotland, and realized that my planning strategy hasn't changed a bit:

Sure, sounds easy enough, right?

Unfortunately, I'm a planner. I can certainly be spontaneous, but I can only do it when I have the comforting solidity of a plan behind me. Mark is perfectly willing to just get off the plane and get in the rental car, ending up wherever we might end up. I have a nagging fear that we'll miss something if I don't know where things are, what I want to see, and which map sheet to unpack.

Really, I'm not an uptight traveler. I don't wander around with my head buried in a guidebook and never look out the window. I do all of that long before we ever get where we're going -- or at least that's what I'm trying to convince Mark of!

I don't think he really understands, but that's OK. He laughs at me when I buy maps and a half dozen (or is it a dozen?) guidebooks and travelogues and make lists and write notes. He actually shrieked with laughter when he realized that I was highlighting the B&B Guide I had just bought. He thinks I'm nuts.

The way I look at it, I can't plan the perfect vacation, but I up my chances of having a great time and seeing cool stuff if I know about the places we're going to to. I can be very well prepared.

This time, of course, I spent a few weeks sticking little dots into the road atlas for each of the castles listed in my castle books, and transferring the OS Grid references to the GPS. Go ahead, mock me.