Leave Your Travel Expectations At Home

Ashley's favorite thing about traveling is the people she meets and shares stories with. Having visited six different countries, including a 7 month experience in Australia, she juggles the messy balance of a corporate lifestyle and a love for travel. When she can't get on a plane, she gets her culture fix by staying involved in the travel industry [a big fan of Tripping] and can be followed on Twitter @mynextstopp

While packing my suitcase, I tried not to bring with me my expectations for this trip, but they kept jumping in anyway. I was so focused on wanting this trip to be memorable that at times I didn’t always let things just happen naturally. Now, looking through all my photos, I realized the most memorable parts of my trip were all the things that I couldn’t have planned. The things that you appreciate most may not be a location or a checked box on an itinerary, but instead a person or a moment.

At the Guinness factory, I expected to learn about the fermentation process and drink enough pints that I would have to walk home. Instead, I found myself drunk in fascination with the old Guinness advertisements displayed on the wall; these ads not only sold Guinness to thousands of thirsty patrons but tell a story about their culture.

Sick to my stomach about the thought of completing Dublin’s Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon when my training was less than suitable for what was expected of its 6500 runners from 52 countries, adrenaline and seeing the city on foot gave me wings to finish the race…not only faster than anticipated but with a deeper appreciation for the land and the architecture.

On my bucket list for years - the predetermined highlight of my trip - was seeing the Riverdance Irish step dancing performance. You would have thought I could’ve left Ireland after only two days of visiting upon seeing this performance and with no regrets. Instead, I left Gaiety Theatre completely blown away by the violinist. Isn’t it awesome when you expect one thing and are completely taken aback by something different…leaving you feeling even better than you predicted?

In Dingle, my boyfriend and I decided on a place for dinner. Little did we know we were in for a treat somewhere else. Running into our B&B owner on the way, she gave us a recommendation for another place up the street that couldn’t be missed. With our hearts set on trying monkfish from local waters, the Chart House restaurant left us with our taste buds begging for more (This was after we sat and talked with her outside, overlooking the Dingle marina at dusk, sharing a bottle of vino – my favorite memory).

A piece of advice: No matter where you’re headed on your next trip, leave at home what you hope to happen so that you can have an experience better than one you could have imagined.