Don’t Over-romanticize the Destination

When we make travel plans, many of us tend to fantasize about how wonderful the experience, how beautiful the scenery, and generally how much better than daily life the trip will be. Many people find exactly what they expect, others discover the destination is better than they thought, while some idealize the location so much that they’re destined for disappointment.


One common occurence of this disappointment to the extreme is known as Paris Syndrome, which is described below:

Paris syndrome (French: Syndrome de Paris, Japanese: パリ症候群, Pari shōkōgun) is a transient mental disorder exhibited by some individuals when visiting or vacationing to Paris, as a result of extreme shock resulting from their finding out that Paris is not what they had expected it to be. It is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, and others, such as vomiting.[1] Similar syndromes include Jerusalem syndrome and Stendhal syndrome. The condition is commonly viewed as a severe form of culture shock. It is particularly noted among Japanese travelers.

-Wikipedia, Paris Syndrome

Over-romanticizing your travel can make you physically ill. I personaly didn’t believe disappointment could cause illness when I first read about this a few years ago, but it makes sense. When you believe that a certain planned experience will make your life better, and you rely on that belief through the trip, the fact that the trip you go on can never fill that enrichment leaves a strong emptiness inside you. It’s like a drug addict who gets high every day tries to experience the world sober once, then feels painfl withdrawal symptoms. In this case, the drug is desire for Paris, and the withdrawal is experiencing Paris as it is and realizing that it isn’t what you thought.

I don’t recommend blowing off travel because you fear you may be disappointed, but I do recommend lowering your standards for what to expect when you travel. The best way to never be disappointed is to have low expectations (but not so low that you don’t go where you want to)! Examine why you want to travel, be realistic with your expectations, optimistic about getting there, and diligent to make it happen.

Best of luck to you all!

-Andy

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