Some of my best memories as a nomad have come from experiencing things I had no notion existed ahead of time. My recent post about Tower Arch is a good example. Discovering there was a huge arch within walking distance of my camp was a joy. There’s something to be said for the element of surprise.
Had I known about the arch ahead of time, I may have worried driving in that the camp spot would already be taken, or that I wouldn’t be able to find the best angle to photograph the arch, or that the weather wouldn’t be good for viewing.
But coming upon it as an accident, there was no preconceived notion about what I wanted the experience to be like. I got to live in the moment as it unfolded, without my brain comparing it to what others have talked about or what my ‘ideal’ experience would be like.
Like Monument Valley. I have a confession to make about that blog post.
Monument Valley is amazing and I did enjoy my visit, but it was quite stressful going into it. I staged the whole thing to try and get the best possible photos for the blog. I waited for a day where the skies were suppose to be sunny, when I woke up to a cloudy morning I got nervous (thankfully the clouds cleared up in the afternoon). I got cold waiting for the sun to set over the Mittens, but I didn’t want to go run and grab my hoodie for fear I’d lose my perfect spot for getting photos. Only once I was rewarded with those great sunset views did I breathe a mental sigh of relief. Okay, I got what all the good bloggers come here to get, I can relax now.
I ended up with a great blog post because I did my research ahead of time and knew exactly where to be when, but I actually enjoyed the more organic experience of Tower Arch more, even if the pictures I got weren’t of the same caliber (afternoon lighting would’ve been better).
It’s guaranteed that if you travel you’ll run across this phenomenon sooner or later. You’ll visit a popular tourist spot to experience what so-and-so experienced, and you’ll end up disappointed when it doesn’t live up to your expectations. So what’s the best way to deal with this?
- For starters, let go of the idea of perfection. There’s no such thing as the perfect trip and having that for a goal when you go RVing is pretty much a guaranteed letdown.
- Allow yourself enough time. You miss a lot when you’re trying to cram too much into a day. Take your time and ignore the pressure to see and do it all. It’s no fun to try to force a good experience when you’re tired and have had your fill.
- Don’t research your trip to death. This is a fine line to walk because you want to make sure you’ll be alright logistically (that the roads to and from are safe for your RV, that you have a spot to camp at when you arrive, that you allot enough time there to see what you want to see, etc.) but if you want to be surprised that means arriving at an area not knowing all the answers.
- Let serendipity take the wheel now and then. Strike up conversations with the locals to learn about the secret spots you won’t find in a listing online, and follow your intuition instead of the crowds. If you want a truly unique experience, you won’t find it going where everyone else goes.