Usually after I return home from traveling, the question that’s never lacking is “What’s next?” But not so much this round. “What was the best and what was the worst” is what I keep hearing. I suppose since I’ve explored not one, not two, but three continents in the seven months I was away, folks are curious about which location offered better memories + sweeter reminiscing.
To be frank, I think my answer is pretty unpredictable.
As if it were my profession, I make it my aim to never travel with expectations, good or bad. I’ve come to terms with the fact that things will not always go my way while internationally traveling. But if I go on expecting that unrealistic reality, I’d be miserable…and where’s the fun in that?
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
Were some days brighter than others? Of course; life is what it is, even across the pond. But when your focus is not on you getting what you wants and expectations are not set, the journey, I find, is far more enjoyable.
Folks travel for a plethora of reasons: work; vacation; specialty food + beverage; searching for a more extraordinary life than the one they currently lead. Why do I do it? Mostly because God, thankfully, has peeled back a layer that only He in His natural mercy can. Though I was brought up to believe this, I now realize that life in the states (or any first-world country for that matter) is not paramount, nor the “American Dream” an actual dream.
Wandering anxiously with blurred vision and a tired mind throughout airports, train and bus stations, running into hardly anyone who speaks your mother-tongue, then somehow miraculously plopping down in the seat at your departure gate is beyond satisfying. (A big-bad-wolf-like inhale and exhale usually ensues for me at this moment.)
As I’ve mentioned before, the life of a middle-class-traveler is far from glamorous. I don’t really have the resources to judge the “bests and worsts” because when you live in a big world on a small budget, everything is a gift. Despite what Instagram or Facebook might deceivingly show, my meals were actually seldom “post-worthy”. There was a week in Papua New Guinea where my team and I ate chicken/beef flavored biscuits, known as SNAX, for nearly every meal; and Coke was typically more trustworthy and accessible than water. But like my momma always told me, “Ya get whatcha get and ya don’t throw a fit.” Paul would even teach me to count it all joy, and even give thanks.
The challenge I’m trying to relay is the boycotting of expectations; to just go with the flow. I know that’s not the Western World’s M.O., but it’s a helpful one; and I think you should try it out.
This philosophy won’t magically make your problems disintegrate or circumstances change course, but if you remember eternity, your attitude in them will be much more bearable for you…and others around you.
“I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.”