Do you know what people don’t say about their travel experiences? They don’t say that they were tired. They don’t say they felt sick, they felt sore, or that they felt jet-lagged and out of their mind.
So much of our enjoyment and happiness, whether traveling or simply living day to day, depends on our feelings at that time. Were you hungry? Were you fighting with your partner? All of these things impact what you take away from an experience.
Inevitable Travel Advice
Whenever you travel, friends and family members jump at the opportunity to either recommend their favorite spots or share the names of people they know who can offer their recommendations. Because traveling is all about connecting with new people and places, it’s only natural that fellow travelers would try and connect with you over potential shared experiences.
But when someone tells you something is worth doing, or some place is worth seeing, take those recommendations with a grain of salt.
I have taken travel recommendations from friends and coworkers on nearly every trip I’ve been on, and more often than not those experiences were not nearly as valuable as others assured me they would be, and that’s simply because people enjoy different things, they had different experiences, and when someone recommends something, they set the bar high, and that could taint your enjoyment.
Their Experience is not Your Experience
You can never feel or experience things the way others do. Their preferences are different, their feelings, and all the moments that lead up to their experience were different, and most of all, that person felt happiness and enjoyment for reasons beyond what they explained to you. Because people love surprises, often their most enjoyable memory from their vacation is discovering something new and exciting – either a great restaurant hidden away, or an impromptu hike up a mountain that lead them to a breath-taking view.
If you go into a new place or a new experience expecting it to be incredible, or you simply follow someone else’s path trying to recreate their happiness, you’re likely to be disappointed.
You will never take this photo, for example. The lawn will be full of people. The sky will be to dark, and there will likely be someone right in front of you trying to take the same photo. If you expect to recreate a beautiful photo or moment you saw online or from your friend’s photo gallery, your experience will never be enough.
Nothing is Picture Perfect
You may never walk down a too-good-to-be-true dock into the blue-est water you’ve ever seen:
You may not be the only one snapping a shot of the Taj Mahal:
And you may be too tired to appreciate the beauty of one of nature’s most wonderful scenes:
And that’s okay. When others inevitably set the bar too high, you’ll potentially miss out on making your own, more authentic memories.
Real travel experiences are meant to be imperfect. Filled with tired aching moments, and less than ideal selfies taken while tourists push by. Don’t avoid seeing a museum you wanted to see because someone said it was boring – you’ll probably have a great time despite the fact that they didn’t.
It’s great to get advice from other people, but ultimately it’s your decision where you eat, sleep, travel and visit. If you stop listening to others and start living in your own moment, you’ll see that you’ll create more travel stories, and you’ll discover more places and experiences to share in the end. Soon you’ll be the one giving travel advice others won’t take.