When planning a trip, be sure to do your research, but don’t let research entirely guide your expectations. Please don’t let that sappy romance movie that was based in Paris, France in the 1920’s change your expectations of what Paris will be like for you. I can tell you from firsthand experience that Paris is magical, but not THAT magical. So, when planning a trip, don’t over plan or overpack your itinerary to the bursting point. One of the beauties of traveling to a new place is letting yourself get in-tune with the locale and letting the destination guide you.
In April, I started my second European trek in Dublin, Ireland. Where I mistakenly let the windup of an upcoming trip build me up for months beforehand. I was expecting to find the rural green goodness of Ireland immediately when I arrived, except I started in the city of Dublin. By all means, parts of Ireland’s historic culture are still large influences within the city, but the reality I experienced was that Dublin is still a modern-age town. It took me three days to get myself out of my disappointed funk and back into the right mindset. It’s important to keep yourself open and ready for wherever your travels may take you. Get lost in the destination, so you can fully enjoy and experience all that it has to offer.
Once I had left Dublin and ventured out into the remote parts of Ireland, the old-soul of the country that I had been searching for came forth and found me. After spending another week touring nearly-barren remote areas of the country, I was able to connect and to live and breathe Ireland. I found exactly what my heart was looking for and I was able to feel a true connection with the destination and the culture. By being open to change and allowing my walls to fall down, I let myself be found. Instead of expecting an idyllic version of Ireland - a guidebook version - I was able to embrace the true reality of the land, with all of my heart and all of my soul and with all of my senses.
(Photo by © Brandon Elijah Scott / Eye & Pen)
This is a repost originally published on eyeandpen.com, June 27th, 2012. This version has been updated and improved with some minor alterations.