Where there’s a Will there’s a way!

Travel Expectations

Ruins of Carthage, Tunisia

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!

Travel Expectations - A camel in Tunis
Camel in Tunis, Tunisia
Travel Expectations - Shopping in Sidi Bou Said
Shopping in Sidi Bou Said
Travel Expectations - Sidi Bou Said has stunning whites and blues
Sidi Bou Said has stunning whites and blues
Travel Expectations - Ruins or Carthage
Ruins of Carthage

How do you deal with your travel expectations?

4 responses to “Travel Expectations”

  1. Lights of Clarity Avatar

    Just want to write to mention that I can completely relate to the feeling of disappointment due to too high of expectations. I loved St Peter’s Basilica, don’t get me wrong, but I felt much more moved when visiting the church in Asisi. I think it being so ornate was overwhelming to me while the church of St Francis was much more humbling of a feeling within. 🙂


  2. I Will Travel Avatar

    Hmm, I think I know exactly what you mean Mia and I think I too prefer that humbling feeling over being overwhelmed. That’s why I’m very attracted to old rustic churches and lighthouses as supposed to cathedrals and basilicas. Yes, I totally agree with you. Thank you kindly for your comment.


  3. Megan Allene Smith (@meganotravels) Avatar

    Funny, my post today is all about wanting a do-over in Paris because of the disappointment I experienced thanks to high expectations. It was the first time I’d ever walked into a place with expectations through the roof and walked away feeling like I’d been gypped. I’ve learned to adjust my expectations since then, but it’s really hard not to build something up in your mind and to get so excited about a new place!


    1. I Will Travel Avatar
      I Will Travel

      Hi Megan, thanks for your comment. You’re absolutely right. It’s very difficult not expect a great experience, specially if it’s a place you’ve been wanting to visit for a very long time. But as difficult as it may be, we have to at least try and like you did adjust our expectations. I feel as if it’s something that we always have to keep in check. I have not been to Paris or France but it’s a place I do want to see. Hopefully I can adjust my expectations before visiting so that what happened to you doesn’t happen to me, but we’ll see if I can do it. I have received mixed reviews lately, however, of Paris. I look forward to reading your post today. I’m very interested to read what happened.



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