It’s been months you’ve been dreaming about it, weeks you’ve planned it and by then you almost count the minutes that separate you from the long-awaited day of your departure. Finally, it’s your turn! You are going on an adventure, discovering another continent and nothing can stop you or your enthusiasm.
On the other hand, you are likely to be overwhelmed with information by friends or relatives who have already been to the destination you are looking for. We aren’t here to tell you that you have to cut yourself off from the world, but rather to warn you not to live your entire journey here before you leave. There is a good reason that made you want to take a vacation. Whether overdosing school or work, mourning, a little heart to repair or simply the need to relax and a change of scenery, you also wanted to get out of your daily life and be surprise by the unknown.
The best way to optimize your experience is to let yourself go through the vibe you will feel and let your intuitions guide your decisions. It’s time to pause on things that bother you, look at them from a different angle and appreciate the unexpected. The most important thing is not the number of mountains that you will climb nor the multitude of historical monuments that you will come across, it’s the feeling that you will feel in the present moment.
Try to make a clean sweep of the preconceived ideas that you made yourself on your trip, it will avoid you to be disappointed. Often, while looking at magazines, we have a very precise image of a place where we will watch the sunset, where we will have a picnic with a little bottle of wine under our arms, where we will go to relax, where we will take ourselves a picture worthy of the magazine to remember its exceptional moments when we are old. Which leads me to tell you that tourists are everywhere. You are certainly not the only person who goes to this country or this region, even during the low season. It may be that the little corner of paradise that you had imagined is not as peaceful as expected and that you will have to crop several strangers’s heads of your pictures.
In 2015, we went to Greece and despite the fact that we had already traveled a lot before, this is the destination for which we were most apprehensive and where we were most surprised. We had been told that Athens was not worth it and that it was not the cleanest city in the world. Yes, there’s a lot of poverty, but it’s part of the experience and it does not make this city less interesting. It’s a must for all history lovers and we do not regret having spent several days there. We also believed that we would find small houses with a blue roof throughout Santorini. Error. Representing the churches, they are not anywhere and it took us a while to find some, but it was worth the trip. One might think that with the economic crisis that the population has suffered for several years, the locals are not the most welcoming. Yet they’re the most generous people that we met, without ever wanting any benefit. They give their time and hospitality without counting. We also remembered donkey rides in Sisterhood of the traveling pants movie, but when we saw that these poor animals had to climb more than 500 steps daily, carrying heavy loads, the idea was rather disgusting when we saw some tourists enjoy it. We were wrong in many ways and it remains one of our best trips so far.
So whether you’re going to Nicaragua, India, Japan, California or wherever in the world, let go of your preconceptions and forget the magazine photos. Shape your journey YOUR way because it remains the best option for YOU. Take a drink for us, create your own memories, explore and just live, you deserve it!