There’s a quote flying around the web that says:
“Expectation is the root of all heartache”
It’s not proven if it’s in fact a quote by Shakespeare but that doesn’t concern me. Whoever said it hit the nail in the head.
We all expect something out of our travel plans. If we book a cruise with a high-rated cruising line we expect excellent service, world-class cuisine, and luxury accommodations. If we’re going on a backpacking trip we expect to see and do as much as possible and meet all kinds of interesting people. However, a rare few travelers have everything go well as planned. Some end up in unexpected circumstances and others in unexpected places.
It happened to me while cruising the Mediterranean sea. My wife and I flew to Rome in order to take the cruise ship from the port of Civitavecchia. We arrived a couple of days earlier to spend some time in Rome and see some of its main attractions. In our must-see-list we had St. Peter’s Basilica and the ever famous Sistine Chapel. I was really looking forward to seeing the Sistine Chapel, one of the greatest art treasures of all time, but when we finally made it through the colossal crowd and into the room I looked to the ceiling and did not find it as spectacular as I had imagined it would be. For some reason I expected it larger and more striking.
In contrast, when the ship docked in Tunisia, I wasn’t really looking forward to the city of Tunis. In fact, my wife and I had considered staying at the port due to some news about riots and kidnappings, but then decided to give it a chance, and boy was I surprised. What a magnificent and charismatic city, specially after venturing into Sidi Boud Said, with all the blue and white colors all over the town. The locals are very friendly and you can find very exotic souvenirs at every street corner. I simply fell in love with Tunis. It’s clear that I had set my expectations for the Sistine Chapel to high and for the city of Tunis too low.
While I could not change the fact that I had set the wrong expectations, I did have a choice of how to react to every situation. Take my advice and don’t let small things rankle you and ruin your mood. Make the conscious choice to recognize that your expectations were wrongly set and chose to make the most of your travel adventure. After all, just because I was not dazzled by the Sistine Chapel it does not mean that it’s anything less than a timeless work of art.
Over the course of time I have learned to always expect the unexpected and that there’s nothing that can ruin my travel plans, except myself. Rain or shine there’s an adventure to be had out of every vacation!
How do you deal with your travel expectations?