It's been raining for days but I've been lucky and most of my activities are under gray skies and I have time to high-tail it to the bus before the downpour. So here I am on a bumpy dirt road under a torrential downpour, driving back to Flores after a half day tour of Tikal, sitting next to a 6ft 4 Dutch man and we are talking Agile project management, what else? (and I wasn´t even the one to bring it up)
Long-term versus short-term travel
It is easy to see the difference between those traveling short versus long-term. People on vacation spend money differently. They have a specific goal and can spend what they need to achieve it.
Long-term travelers stick to happy hour, pack snacks and will take the chicken bus. They aren't 100% sure where they will end up just yet, but long-term travel means maximizing your resources to get as far as you can.
In PM terms, vacations are more predictive, and long-term travel is adaptive. One has a clearly defined scope and strict deadline (return ticket) but a more flexible budget. The latter has a budget which you have to maximize in order to deliver an experience that satisfies the broad scope. Which method do you think makes it easier to deal with a missed bus, flight or all the other inevitable pitfalls of travel? You cannot possibly plan for 6 months of travel the same way you can 2 weeks. There are too many unknowns (weather, political instability, oversold flights) for the content of your project to be fixed. In order to deal with this, I treat each country as a sprint.
The Belize Sprint
My first four days in Belize taught me many lessons that I can apply in the next country.
1. Push through bad weather, just go do what you want to do and there's always an alternative when you get there.
2. Be realistic/Lower your expectations, if you feel you have to ask, there is no hot water.
3. Prepare to change: my first hostel was a feral cat sanctuary with no running water and I had to walk Caye Caulker in the rain to find somewhere to sleep. On Day 1.
If I were to attempt long-term travel in a predictive method, the amount of changes necessary would drive the entire plan off track very quickly. By having a general direction, a few fixed milestones and a strict budget, I can adapt quickly to change, implement the advice of other travelers, and improve the overall experience of my trip (be more wary of fancy websites for cat hostels).