“Wait until you see Casa Batllo! You gotta go!” “You will absolutely adore the Champs de Elysee!” “China- so cultured an exotic!”
When you tell someone you are about to go anywhere suddenly they turn into the New York Times. But even the writers of raved reviews are human and have their own preferences (yes- the New York Times writers are human too!).
Before we travel, we always go on TripAdvisor or Expedia or just talk to people about what to do, what to see, what they enjoyed etc. But one thing we all forget is that all of these people that we are listening to are biased. They hate some things, love others, and they did not like every single aspect of that place they went to (I can guarantee it).
This falls back to us wanting to appear better than we are for the approval of others. (Heaven forbid you be human and be unique in your preferences- the horror!) We don’t have to be happy all of the time and we don’t have to go to a place and love every single minute, every meal, every step etc. just because somebody else did (or appeared to..). We don’t have to lie to people about our experiences, they are OURS to experience.
I was not a fan of Florence, I couldn’t stand the Bahamas, and China-though cultured and exotic- was not my cup of tea.
There have been places I have loved and places that I have hated and everywhere in between- and that is okay. It is also okay to admit to yourself that you paid a lot of money to do something you didn’t enjoy. That is called experience.
Experience can be a good or a bad thing. It is something you learn from and can grow with. Why didn’t you like _____? What could have been better about my ______? There is always good to the bad- and always bad with the good. That is how life works-travelling is no different.
When you are on your social media platforms, you always show the good. When you call home things are wonderful and perfect- still good. It is okay to say you aren’t a fan of something and it is okay to show that.
We are so programmed to answer “how are you doing?” with “good”, to answer “How are you liking ____?” with “its amazing!”, or even “are you having fun?” with “oh yea!”. But it is okay to say “Not too well, actually”, “I am not a fan”, and “I am having fun, but not as much as I thought I would”. We all want to have the best time of our lives when we go away, that’s natural but don’t get yourself down if it isn’t exactly what you wanted it to be.
Everyone has their own opinions about everything else, why should travelling be any different? When giving your best New York Times impression to someone give a “I really enjoyed my time.” instead of “You are going to love it!” or oppositely “I wasn’t a fan.” instead of “You’re going to hate it!” The difference in language doesn’t set people up for expectation. They already have their own expectations if they are going there, let them gain their own experiences and their own opinions on them.
Experiencing a culture or a place doesn’t mean you are going to like it, but you have experienced it and isn’t that what the plane ride was for anyway?
If someone tells you they loved literally everything about a trip, they are liars, and oppositely if someone tells you they hated literally everything about a trip they too are liars. But we see extremes as more socially acceptable. “It was okay.” Is never really something we are willing to say out-loud. Say what you mean. It is okay to admit it.
If you paid 600 bucks to see a concert and you didn’t like it- that’s okay. If you planned a romantic getaway and it didn’t go well- that’s cool. If you spent months planning a trip that disappointed you- I’m sorry you are disappointed, but it’s okay to be. Break away from the norms that are engrained: that need to impress people and force yourself to lie about your enjoyment in something. You are not a cookie to be cut, you aren’t going to like everything someone else likes because you are different!
I am so happy my friends have enjoyed those places, and I am happy I experienced them. Are our opinions on something different? YES! Because our experience was different.
When planning your next adventure take the things you didn’t like and negate them (if possible) from your trip. Don’t like trains? Eurail probably isn’t for you. Don’t like sand in your swimsuit? Go to a resort instead of a beach! Use what you have learned and admitted to yourself to create a better trip every time you go somewhere.
Your trip is for You. Not for your Instagram followers or the Twitterverse, not for your family or friends, not for bragging rights, for you. The sooner you can admit that it is okay to dislike something, the sooner you can get to figuring out what you do enjoy.
“Experience is the teacher of all things.” -Julius Caesar