June 21, 2012 by farbolino
For many of the ultra tourist destinations on our planet that we haven’t visited, I feel that we often have lofty expectations for such places. Personally I often walk away with at least a little disappointment for one reason or another. Usually my problem is not the site itself, but the expectations I had before arriving. The Taj Mahal- it wasn’t grandiose enough. Stone henge- not mysterious enough. Paris- not romantic enough. Machu Picchu- too touristy to make it special. The list goes on for me; yet I can often be impressed with less impressive things simply because I had no expectations.
It’s like a friend telling you how amazing this movie he just saw was. It was funny, intelligent and at the same time heart felt. Now you see the movie; yet it wasn’t quite as funny as you expected, you didn’t think it was intelligent at all, and maybe you’d think it was heart felt if the ending didn’t feel so contrived.
It’s the same with traveling. We often times visit a place based on friends recommendations, or because a guidebook says not to miss it, but perhaps whatever it is won’t be as awesome as you’re expecting. Your friend may love big cities with vibrant nightlife, and maybe you do too, but keep in mind that his opinion that Berlin has the best nightlife ever is just that: an opinion. You may disagree, so come with low expectations and you’re bound to walk away a happy traveler.
When people ask me what I think about a certain place, I always follow my answer (or at least try to) with “but that’s just my opinion, you should find out for yourself.” I also realize that I have certain quirks with the types of places I like, and if you have any, try to realize them before giving a recommendation to someone. I love communist architecture, but realize this isn’t a passion for most other people, so I wouldn’t recommend visiting a slipping district in Kiev, even though I find them fascinating. Istanbul on the other hand; everyone seems to love, yet I didn’t, but I make sure to say that everyone but me enjoyed it.
So the next place you plan to visit, try to arrive with realistic expectations and you’re bound to enjoy it.