Have you ever been excited about visiting a place you’ve always dreamed about? Or have you ever had low expectations of a city, only to be pleasantly surprised by your time there?
It’s almost impossible to not have expectations in life. We expect we’ll get hired at our dream job or our first date will be a bust.
However, when it comes to travel, expectations can make or break a destination. One of the most important lessons I learned from traveling is to try to not have any expectations. But we’re human. It’s extremely difficult not to form opinions of a destination with all of the social media and blogs that are readily at our fingertips. Apps such as Instagram have created a view of the world through rose-colored glasses, which in reality is ever hardly the case.
But how do we go about ignoring our expectations or should we even try? Sometimes understanding where your opinions are coming from and how to work around them can help you better enjoy your travels.
What are Your Expectations?
When it comes to traveling, there are usually two types of expectations: high or low. These are typically influenced by our friends and family who have visited destinations or what we see on the internet and can each have their own pitfalls.
Having too high of a pre-conceived notion can easily lead you to disliking a city very quickly because of one small occurrence before you have the chance to accept every part of the place. For example, when you visited Rome did you expect to find it beautiful and romantic, or were you surprised by the selfie-stick sellers surrounding the Colosseum? Or was Bali filled with more expats and digital nomads than you thought?
Having too high of expectations comes with the downfalls of the reality of a place. Yes, Rome has many street vendors trying to get you to buy cheap plastic sticks, but that goes hand-and-hand with visiting one of the most famous cities in the world. Additionally, many of these vendors are immigrants or refugees who are trying to make money. It’s important to understand the whole picture before you discount a city.
I admittedly have been a perpetrator of having low expectations of some locations. After meeting other travelers and reading blogs it’s hard not to develop a lower level of appreciation for a place when all you hear about are too many tourists or a place is polluted. However, more times than not, those low expectations will be destroyed if you give a place a chance and are open to possibilities.
Try Not to Have Expectations
This is easier said than done. The hardest part is talking yourself into not expecting anything.
The best piece of advice I could give is to just take everything as it comes. That means accepting every aspect of culture and every quirky or frustrating part of traveling. Not every city or country has the same values or customs as your home country, which can be a culture shock for some.
Additionally, with expectations we always seem eager to judge a place. Remember, nowhere is perfect and when you travel it’s easy to start comparing your own culture to others. The point of travel is to appreciate and understand other cultures. Not to say our way is better or that you shouldn’t do it that way.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t have expectations or to completely discount them. But as a friendly reminder to have your eyes, ears, and hearts open to a destination. It is those little moments where you are open to new experiences or situations that make you appreciate the world just a little more.
Guest Author: Chris Slack
Chris is a travel and lifestyle blogger who left the legal field and office world in 2017 to experience the world around her. Chris has traveled to 25 different countries and is looking to travel to more in the future. Chris’s blog, Wandering Feathers, focuses not only on her travels and experiences but also how these travels have affected her day-to-day life and future. Check out her blog: http://wanderingfeathers.com/