We were on the plane en route to France and Turkey for our honeymoon when I turned to Jordan and said: "I'm already feeling so sad about the end of our trip... Where should we go next?!" The trip had barely begun and I was already mourning the return home.
I am a planner. I love to create itineraries, think about the food we will eat, the art and architecture we will see, and imagine myself in a new or well-loved far-off place. I pack and unpack my suitcase 10 times in my head before my suitcase is even opened. I read guidebooks and articles, research restaurants and coffee shops, map out unique stores, bookstores, and boutiques. That is, I did all of those things before having kids. It's a little harder now to plan; plans don't often turn out as expected with children. That has been a hard lesson to learn for this planner.
So, of course, I laughed and nodded my head when my Mom pulled out Stephanie Rosenbloom's article What a Great Trip! And I'm Not Even There Yet at our weekly coffee date on Tuesday and said "this is SO US." The article describes us, me and my Mom, perfectly. We relish the anticipation, the longing for travel and new experiences, while the reality, oftentimes, is the trip itself is mired down by the day-to-day: the weather, exhaustion, a bad unplanned meal.
Turns out, there is an art to anticipation. Savoring, said Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and a leading happiness researcher, is an active, not passive, process. “It’s better to immerse yourself,” she said. Reading novels and poetry, watching films and television programs, browsing fashion and design blogs that are either from or about the place you plan to visit encourages you to not only learn about your destination, but to dream, providing some concrete details for your mind to latch on to. It may sound counterintuitive, but this building up of positive expectations and excitement actually helps our minds smooth over any minor discrepancies if reality doesn’t quite measure up to the fantasy. “We’re less likely to be bothered by these little holes if we build up our expectations ahead of time,” Professor Dunn said. “So go ahead and assume it’s going to be wonderful.”What about you? Do your travels live up to the ones you imagine and create in your head prior to the trip itself?
[image: cara lou of we do iceland]