Is what you see, what you get?
We’ve grown so accustomed to seeing travel marketing perfection, that even the slightest deviation can result in feeling ho-hum.
In many cases, if a photo had included just a few more feet to the left or right, you probably would have frowned at the site of a crowded beach and skipped to the next place.
When I visited the Taj Mahal it severely lacked the peaceful tranquillity I had seen in so many photos. At dawn, hundreds of people were waiting to flood onto the grounds. There was even a queue to get the best photo, — and hard stares were abundant. It certainly wasn’t my favourite or most zen experience in India, but it was still worth it. I’ll never forget how amazing the cool white marble felt on my bare feet and the way the dome glowed under the rising sun.
Perhaps it boils down to a state of mind, but pretty pictures and rave reviews can be a recipe for disappointment. Instead, alternative resources can root your next trip in reality and improve the experience dramatically. Quality travel research can help blend two narratives — your own intrigue, curiosity, and goals with the reality of a place, it’s people and the environment.
Here are some tips that have helped transform my expectations and open me up to richer travel experiences.
top photo by Blake Barlow
left photo by Tim Umphreys
bottom photo by Silke Struckenbrock