Ah, traveling, what a great experience! Yes, true, I love to travel and I am convinced that it is the best thing in life. But is the experience always as we want? No, unfortunately not. Why? Because we collect information about each trip and we start to have expectations. Then when we arrive at our destination and we see the reality, not always satisfying. The traveler dilemma concern expectations vs reality.
As you see in the graphic, Europeans don’t go often around EU. This choice depends also on the expectations. People form their ideas of a country starting from different aspects. Not always the data collected are giving the real image of a place, but we decide according to our expectations. The same process happens on the opposite side. Sometimes we imagine a marvelous place because we saw a lovely postcard and when we get there we are disappointed. It is not easy to deal with the match expectations vs reality.
Expectations vs reality: traveling risks
This is what happens with the marketing. A tour operator shows a paradise offering a holiday package. Of course, it needs to sell and maybe the place is not exactly how described. But this is enough to convince us. A picture can have a very big impact on our mind. Then we need to handle expectations vs reality. That incredible area offers poor food, bad accommodation and so on. This can ruin our journey.
Then we need to consider also scams and many other causes. We can be easily disappointed. Mainly this comes from the marketing. Also if we know that in front of us there is an idyllic photo made or chosen only because of its potential, we believe in the offer. Maybe because we search for a paradise where to find relax. The fight “expectations vs reality” doesn’t come only from the landscape.
The destination isn’t the problem
If sometimes the destination is responsible for the difference between expectations and reality, in other cases this is not the problem. The city, the beach, the mountain or the place where we are it is fine. Also, the view is the same as the one we saw in the postcard. So what’s wrong? The hotel room, the attractions, the activities. There are many reasons to feel bad after the trip. That is why I try always to keep my expectations at a very low level. It will be hard to disappoint me.
I remember once, my second trip to Ukraine with a colleague. She was almost scared. She had a bad image of the country. Poor people, no infrastructures, dangers on the streets and so on. I have never understood exactly from where those type of information were coming. Anyway, I show her, working with locals and having meetings around, the real Ukraine. The reality was better than expectations.
A very nice place, with unique landscapes and full of art. I have to admit that the streets are very bad. Holes everywhere. To travel 100 km you need around 4 hours…not in all the country luckily. Anyway, this small example fits perfectly to understand how our imagination works in the wrong direction. Expectations vs reality, who will win?
How to handle the expectations vs reality?
We already know what can happen. Bad surprises are always behind the corner when we travel. Now it’s time to think about how to overcome this situation, maybe how to avoid it. Everything depends on you. Your attitude and your approach play an important role. Also, you need to know how to react and transform a bad experience in something more interesting.
It is like when you go to an aristocrat country and you have to show your riches. While you need to hide them in a poor country. You have to learn how to act according to the conditions you find. This is very important. My suggest is one: go with the flow. It will help you to take advantage of each situation you live traveling around the world. There isn’t another way.
What to do
Stay flexible and keep an open mind. Consider, preparing yourself, that something uncertain might happen and don’t let it spoil your trip. Think that nothing is ever as it appears. First of all, don’t be discouraged! Take everything as a challenge, get stimulus and work on the situation. It is a way to explore a place, to discover more about yourself. New adventures never come to destroy you, but to fortify you.
Expectations ve reality: you will change your mind. Why be disappointed only because something is not how you expected? When I think to this, always it comes to my mind a question: what is your favorite country? This is what people ask me when I tell about my trips. I answer that every place I visit has something special. It is true, so why to be sad if you find something different from your expectations? Live the moment, life is too short. Make your experience as it is.
Next time you will plan a trip try to remember this post. Ok, maybe I am asking you too much, so let me give you a question. You don’t have to answer, but just keep it in mind and answer it to yourself when you will live a disappointing experience. Do your expectations blur your interpretation of reality? The choice you have is to live the moment or to live in an expectation.
Did you live this type of situation? How did you handle the reality that wasn’t matching with your expectation?