Something I often struggle with is having unrealistic expectations, especially when travelling. I find myself dreaming and researching a place or a piece of art, and subconsciously I build up very high expectations.
I think Paris was the first time I realized that I had built up expectations that weren’t always going to be met, when I went to the Louvre. I had the expectation that it was going to be this magical place that everyone hyped it up to be- and it is a wonderful museum- but I didn’t experience the magic everyone else seemed to, I just experienced being constantly pushed from behind by millions of tourists. I was also kind of devastated by the fact that I only got to stand in front of the Mona Lisa for 10 seconds before I was told to move on by an angry security guard and the group of teenage boys behind me.
While I didn’t particularly enjoy my time at the Louvre, the city of Paris itself was beautiful. We weren’t there for long, and I wish I had spent less time in big touristy places like the Louvre and more time just wandering the city and exploring. I wish I had gone into smaller art museums and taken my time. I wish I had gone into the local coffee and flower shops instead of just looking in awe and passing them. But life is too short for regrets, and perhaps I will re-visit the city someday and do things differently. One thing I didn’t expect to enjoy very much was going up the Eiffel Tower, as we waited in line in the cold for nearly two hours. But the view was stunning, and because we waited in line for so long we hit the top as the sun was setting.
You go into trips thinking something is going to blow your mind, and sometimes when you get there you’re disappointed. You think something is going to be a waste of your time, and it ends up blowing your mind. I’ve learned that that’s how travel works: it’s constantly making you re-evaluate and teaching you to keep an open mind, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.