It’s amusing, the usually self-inflicted pressure to “have” a certain “experience” the first time you visit Europe. The expectation to be “inspired.” So much of life’s pain relates to dashed expectations.
Reflecting on our recent trip to London and Paris, I believe I managed the expectations fairly well ahead of time. I wasn’t anticipating Utopia. I knew there would be crowds, blight, delays, etc.—all the usual things that go with traveling in, within and out of a big city. I also knew there would be cool first-time experiences, and flung myself into those full throttle with no regrets.
The grass really isn’t greener, but it certainly is interesting going to the other side now and then. It enriches the mind and creates powerful memories.
I highly recommend traveling, but think it is wise to remember that who you are—with your light and darkness, joy and anguish, peace and worry—accompanies you everywhere and colors the lenses through which you see the landscape displayed before you. The best journey of all is the voyage into self-awareness, and upon completion every other tangible place offers even greater meaning and delight.