Near & Far: Planning Travel, Warrenpoint & the French Road Trip 2021 [Podcast Script 004]

This is the script from Episode 004 of the Planet Patrick Podcast published today. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or Apple, or most good podcast sites. It is also available on YouTube. The show details can be found by clicking here.

Today I’m thinking about local and global, near and far and the question of planning. 

Sometimes I want to plan and sometimes I think planning means that spontaneity is lost. Sometimes I am PLAN-IT Patrick and sometimes Don’t PLAN-IT Patrick. 

This is on my mind at the moment as I am planning a road trip to France.  I’m leaving in a few days and my original idea was NOT to plan anything, except the outward ferry journey and the first couple of nights in reasonable hotel in Rennes. 

I think I have this idea that spontaneity can only occur when nothing else is planned.  Did you ever sit in work and think… if I won the lottery or came into money, I’d be able to sit back and relax and stop planning quite so much….? That extends from  life at home into the idea of travel… I’d just take a flight or a ferry, we say, and wander the roads without a care! 

But I want to challenge my own assumption.  When you travel without any planning, the reality is that you’re going to spend part of your OFF time, planning for where you’ll stay that night, or having to rework your ideas because all the hotels or campsites are booked out because there was a local bank holiday you didn’t know about. 

Perhaps the genuine freedom lies in planning just ENOUGH to create room for spontaneity.  That might sound counterintuitive in some way, but hear me out.  On a road trip, usually I don’t want to drive more than 2 hours a day, barring the getting there and getting home trips which can be longer.  So that dictates the radius of where I might want to stay.  For this French trip, my ferry will deposit me in Cherbourg, so my first stop is the small city of Rennes, my second will be La Rochelle and my third Bordeaux. 

Next, I don’t want a stop and flop kind of trip.  I want time to enjoy those places, so my second rule is a minimum of two nights per stop. I think these gentle structures… max 2 hours drive and 2 nights minimum, create the conditions in which anything else can happen.  Having the capacity to DO IT ALL on holidays doesn’t mean you HAVE to do it all.  

I was explaining all of these half-formed ideas to my friend Sara a couple of weeks ago and she was reflecting that she hadn’t had much of an opportunity to travel overseas since Covid.  I’m delighted to say she will join me in Bordeaux for the second leg of the French Road Trip 2021.  We will spend 2 nights there, a further 3 nights based in the Dordogne so I can look at houses that I’m unlikely to buy and 2 nights in the lively city of Toulouse, known as the Pink City because of the pink terracotta bricks used in many of its historic buildings.  

I’ve visited Bordeaux and Toulouse before, so you might say, why return? First, they’re great places to visit, but also (thinking of spontaneity) visiting with a friend who hasn’t been there before changes your perception of place. And of course, time hurries on.  Those places (and I) have changed and no experiences are ever quite the same. 


It is very warm in Ireland today.  I’m not necessarily built for sunshine, more for drizzle which might come at you here from any direction.  And I suffer from hay fever, so by 6.30am I was up and about. 

I will make some films and record some podcasts when I’m away in France.  In preparation for that, I’ve bought some new tech equipment recently (there will be posts and videos about those on the Planet Patrick YouTube channel – have you subscribed already?).  My poor postman, Tom, is exhausted carrying new boxes to my front door.  As he delivered another box this morning, he stood in the shade of my feral rose bush and took a breath. Poor Tom! With all this new kit, I wanted to give everything a run out and to work out the kinks in my understanding of what they could do. Perhaps it would be best to take the first day in France to do that? 

As I lay on my bed drugged with Piriton and pondered how warm it was getting and why we don’t have air conditioning in Ireland, it struck me that one of the most beautiful places in the world is right on my doorstep.  Sometimes I can get caught up in thinking about flights and locations overseas, and yet, right here is one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

Tech Geek Alert! 

I got up and gathered together all the new tech: a DJI Osmo 4 gimbal (or phone stabiliser), my unused Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera, various tripods, a DJI Mini 2 drone, Nikon DSLR and various batteries, cables and storage drives. 

One other new purchase was a LowePro FastPack BP250AWIII. That may make no sense to you.  It’s a rucksack that has an easy open section in which to store camera bodies and lenses and small drones, and a generous area for snacks.  I have a video coming up soon about that.  So I tucked all my new tech into the bag and hotfooted it to Warrenpoint, which is just a couple of miles from home. 

It was peaceful this morning, just a few walkers and the odd gasping runner. I was able to go to the end of the pier and set up to take some pictures and some drone footage.  A boat (or a ship, I’ve never quite sure) chug-chugged past me as I rushed to pull out a video camera to shoot it.  I enjoyed its blue and white shape plunging through the still waters of Carlingford Lough. 

I stopped off at Narrow Water Castle Keep on the way home, sending the drone into the middle of the channel to dip low and dive high above the keep.  There will be a video of this all to come – I’ve looked at the footage and I think it’s something special. 

So here I am back at my desk… all the footage from each camera is downloaded and ready to edit.  The challenge of editing is two-fold.  First creating something that people will want to see must be the starting point.  We all have high expectations of film simply because we’ve become used to it through TV, movies and streaming services.  The second challenge is that I’ve built up quite the backlog of projects to edit from recent visits to Iceland, County Louth, Warrenpoint today and the upcoming French trip.  I need to think carefully about balancing the time spent enjoying travel, even if I love the filming process, and allowing enough time to edit and produce quality content. 

That’s a hard balance to strike, especially in the first flush of enthusiasm in setting up a channel and using social media more widely.  But – like everything – there will be a rhythm that becomes apparent, with experience.  I must say I’m enjoying the journey of finding that out. 

 Thanks for joining me today for this episode of Planet Patrick.  I’d be delighted if you’d subscribe to the podcast and drop by to say hi on YouTube if you’re interested in those short films I mentioned. 

Take care and see you in the next one! 

This podcast is also on YouTube. Click below: