SUMMER FRIDAY TRAVEL JOURNAL SERIES: Plans and Surprises, in travel and in travel journaling

When I travel, I like to research like a madwoman ahead of time, and then be completely open to dumping all the planning once I get somewhere. I do the same thing with my travel journals: prepare, prepare, prepare and then welcome surprises.
Before we went to Spain, I researched interesting places to stay in a rather intense manner. It paid off so many times.
I found the most amazing hotel in Sevilla. It was called Hotel Amadeus. It was a small hotel on a tiny hallway of a street with a classical music theme. Every room was named after a composer (we stayed in the Verdi room). All of the art was music related:

And best of all, our room had a piano. The room was even sound-proof so my husband could play music whenever he wanted.
Nothing is more romantic than your beloved playing the piano, making up beautiful music that matches your day. But it wasn't too likely we would have found such a perfectly matched place without research.

On the other hand, we didn't plan anything about my favorite part of our time in Sevilla.

We stumbled into an amazingly whimsical public-art sculpture show right at the perfect-light time of evening.

What a fun surprise!

Most of my travel journals have been make-as-you-go sorts of affairs. I bring a bunch of loose paper that I'll sew into a book later, normally in a color palette that kind of matches the research I've done (the best research is colorful, no?). I bring an embarrassing array of supplies (see this post). I make a rough plan for how I'll go about my journal (in Spain I had planned on making a collage every day and listing 5 things I had done), and then when I actually am off having adventures I see what happens. If I leave my book un-sewn and basically open to adding whatever, I can I add any sort of paper, place-mat, or brochure and bind it all in place when I get home.

So I plan like crazy, and then stay open to the surprises. Mixing the two can be so lovely.

P.S. I'd love to hear about your own make-as-you-go journals if you've made one in the past. Or let me know how it goes if you decide to try one out while on summer vacation.