I’m a planner, so I can totally appreciate the need to feel in control of what is coming, especially when a special destination event is coming up.

Yet, secretly even us planners know:

Plans are worthless. But planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

He said that in relation to preparing for emergencies – but the same is true for travel planning.

When I was a little girl growing up in California, I desperately wanted to go to Disney World. I did all the research (in the days before the internet) and came up with the perfect plan: 1 week, my brother and my parents and me. We’d stay at the reasonably priced hotel inside the park and pack in all the key rides and amusements. I was so proud of my plan, and my mom let me concoct the whole thing before letting me down with the sad truth: we couldn’t afford to fly to Florida.

Plan was there, money was not.

When I was getting ready to move from California to New York for university, I hatched a plan with high school friends also heading east to do a cross country drive. I spent hours pouring over maps and determining the best route. First decision was North or South? North. Do we take a detour for Yellowstone? Too far out. Stop in Chicago? Of course. And so on. We started out as 4 and in the end, none of us could allocate the weeks it would take to do it properly.

Plan was there, time was not.

My next attempt to gather a group for a travel adventure started because I was living in Germany for a summer. I called my friend who was working as a flight attendant and invited her to come (since it was practically free). She offered to bring more people, so I invited my brother. He was in, but I felt we needed a balance so I invited a friend from school. He decided to invite his ex-fiancé, and so a wonderfully strange mix of people ended up driving around Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic for a couple of weeks. Five people is cozy in European cars!

It wasn’t perfect, but it came together with just the right amount of planning because we had enough people with time and money and no particular expectations.

This year was the culmination of all my travel planning practice over the years. I decided to tackle a destination event – more than just a trip with friends. This was special. We invited family and friends from every corner of the world to our wedding in an amphitheater in Jerash, Jordan plus a 7 day tour of the sights across the country.

2 years in the making, I planned this trip within an inch of its life. Yet some of the major decisions, like the wedding venue, were not made until 1 week before the wedding! It all worked out because the framework necessary to handle these last minute changes had been refined over 2 years of planning. We had the right group of travellers with us and they enjoyed the planned and unplanned parts of the adventure. Thankfully our guests trusted in my ability to organise – a key element to a successful destination event.

Our epic destination wedding was not exactly like I planned, but it was better than I could have expected.

Many of our friends would never have gone to Jordan and experienced a new culture and ancient history had it not been for the trust they had in me and my husband.

That is why we are building YouLi, because we believe that there are many unique experiences to be had when you travel with the organisers you trust. So YouLi is for the organisers to create and curate, for the travellers to experience the world from a new perspective and together to create the most memorable moments.

Perfect plans rarely come to fruition and no real plan is ever complete, yet for me, a special destination event can only become a reality with the right amount of planning and the right amount of letting go when it is time to put it into action.

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.

If you are ready to start planning your special Destination Event with YouLi, send us a request to join our Early Adopters program in early 2017.

Making it look easy - after it was all done.

Making it look easy – after it was all done.