One of the fun things about planning a trip someplace far or exotic is the anticipation before the actual journey. Maybe you’ve saved up money for years or you’ve finally gotten the courage to purchase that plane ticket, but once that decision is made the curiosity and wonder have a chance to fully take hold.
Will the people be friendly to you? Are your accommodations close enough to the beach? Will you like the food?
Curiosity is one of the most golden attributes in our universe and there is nothing closer to the feeling of Christmas as a child than getting excited for a trip. But I’m actually here to say stop thinking about it. It’s best not anticipating every detail about your approaching travels, and it’s best not thinking about it much either. Trust me, you’re better off not knowing.
This might sound like some backwards advice from what we are all used to hearing. Aren’t we supposed to be prepared? Yes, of course! If it’s your first time in a country or traveling on your own, you most definitely need to do some research. I’m not saying to skip out on planning for the weather, or researching safe areas to venture, or what type of outlets your electronics will use.
I’m talking about the “what ifs” that will pop into your mind once the essential planning is all complete. I’m talking about the expectations that you most definitely have of the place and of your soon to be experiences there. Get rid of them, cast them aside as they come up in your mind and think of something else. Once your trip is booked and the necessities are planned, don’t let those sugar plums dance in your head.
There is a reason why Buddha said expectations are the root of misery. Well, more accurately “craving” is, but craving creates those misery causing expectations. When you build an image in your mind about a place or experience that you haven’t experienced yet that image is, well.. imaginary! It’s a great set up for a let down. When things don’t quite add up to your imaginary notions, it can be upsetting in both big and subtle ways. The unfortunate reality of this is so spot on even Shakespeare said it.
“Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.”
Expectations not only fail us, they most often fail us when we have the highest emotional investment. You might recognize this pattern when a movie based on a book comes out. The harshest critics and the most disappointed people are often the biggest fans of the book, the ones with the most expectations. This isn’t to say that your trip wont be fun if you have expectations. After all, you probably wouldn’t have booked the trip in the first place if you expect to have a horrible time. But you will have a richer and more fulfilling trip if you get rid of them.