Unrealistic Expectations: What you don’t see Vs. What you do see

Today I was thumbing through my friends posts on Instagram and Facebook looking at pictures of everyone in their Halloween costumes.  All the smiling faces and perfectly done make-up. I have to say, this year, we KILLED it with our costumes. Not that there aren’t better costumes out there, but we pieced our costumes together (though our little guy insisted on being Master Chief from HALO and I’m not good enough to make that shit) and spent hours perfecting the make-up. It’s awesome to see the finished product, but what about everything not photographed (or maybe is) and the reason we choose not to post them?

I think most of that is due to self preservation. First off, we all want a presence on social media without being too revealing. After all, some things in life are definitely meant to be kept private. More often than not, we really only show what we want people to see. Guilty as charged. All too often pictures are photoshopped or in some instances the phone has a setting that automatically does it making you or your landscape look “perfect.” But here’s the deal, NOBODY/NOTHING IS PERFECT! We typically post things we are happy to let people see, but not the entire scope of how we got that really awesome picture. I’m not just talking about portraits. I’m talking about sitting at the right place at the right time to get the perfect exposure. Adjusting the camera’s settings just to the right ISO, adjusting the aperture and getting just the right angle in hopes of capturing the beauty of which your eye sees.

What you don’t see is the arguing about where the fuck we are and where we’re supposed to be. You don’t see the anger and frustration of the indecisiveness of either party. You don’t see the temper tantrums of a young kid that’s hangry. Yep he turns in to quite the devil child once he gets hungry. You don’t see the disruptions of travel plans and the angst from hundreds of travelers when we’re all on a train at 11 pm heading to Rome when suddenly the train stops and everyone is ushered off the train to busses in order to continue the trip with no explanation, yet we all know the trip is now going to be an additional 3 hours come to find out someone decided to end their life by jumping onto that railroad. I’m sure with that revelation, we can all spare 3 hours. You don’t see our frustration when we’re reading and following a map, but the map is wrong (think Venice, Italy) or there’s no legend to follow so we have to hope we know which direction is North on the damn thing. We may even get lucky to have a local give us directions specifically by the number of turns we have to make and the number of doors we must count to arrive at our final destination. Yet despite their best efforts and our best attempts, we still get lost over and over again while the sun is setting and we have yet to find our hotel. You don’t see the anger we exude when we’re trying to use the GPS to map our location, but the GPS is delayed and so we circle around the same roundabout 4 times waiting for it to catch up and continue to do this while navigating the streets of London and Paris (it started out funny, didn’t end up funny). We’re too busy being pissed and arguing with each other to even think about snapping pictures. What you do see is this:

The issue is, we have expectations. When our expectations are not met, we get irritated. Irritation turns to frustration which turns to anger and eventually a melt down if you can’t get control of yourself and your emotions.

We expect a map to be correct, the GPS to work and track our location. We expect to have cell service or at least wifi, and to have an eventful trip without too much hassle. We expect a level of cleanliness when we book a hotel or home or room. We expect that hotel standards around the world would be the same as in America. We expect to have our meals served with a smile and we expect that we’re going to have to leave a tip. We expect the food we ordered will come in a timely fashion and that we’ll have extra time budgeted so we don’t run out of time to see the things we vacationed to see. We expect when we are seated at a restaurant, the server will come offer us drinks and then take our order when our drinks arrive. We don’t expect to have to ask for any of these things because we’ve been trained as Americans to expect these things will just happen.

When we vacation, we’ve learned to leave our expectations at home. Mostly because if you have too many expectations you’re asking for a trip full of disappointment. A girlfriend of mine once told me that we  “are travelers, not vacationers.” In a way, she’s right. We travel to immerse ourselves into other cultures and learn more history about the places we visit. We venture into areas most tourists won’t go because it’s out of their comfort zone. We talk to locals and ask them where they go to get away from tourists and we go there. We’ve stayed in some pretty dank places and some areas that really had us questioning whether we should cancel our booking and find somewhere else to sleep or just chance sleeping at a train station. We’ve hopped on the back of a random person’s motorbike to catch a ride back in to town with varying degrees of mistrust. But we always have found that we can rely heavily on our instincts to guide us in the right direction.

When you’re walking through the ghetto seeing graffiti, and you spot your “hotel” room you start questioning the area… Then you get up to your room and see the XXX Adult shop across the street, next door to the liquor store and you kind of know it was probably a bad choice. But we still give it a chance, unless there’s something egregious that jumps out at us that makes us run for the hills. We make sure to pack light, just in case we need to get out in a hurry and we generally don’t travel for less than 3 weeks. If it doesn’t fit in our backpacks, it doesn’t go.

You may not see pictures of us arguing, or giving each other the cold shoulder or getting short with our son, but you will see unadulterated pictures of beautiful scenery and us in our natural state of being. Sometimes I don’t want to pose for a picture and sometimes I don’t want to hike up that f%&*ing mountain. I can even be seen flipping off the camera in those instances. We don’t photoshop and we don’t try to show things that aren’t there. We try only to capture the things we see with our eyes. Often, the way we see it through our eyes cannot truly be captured in a photo. So we stop expecting things to be what we want and start accepting the way things truly are wherever we go.


  1. Its an absolutely a reflection of the beautiful thought you are holding in mind that you shared with people.

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    • Thanks! I’m really kind of behind on keeping up with the posts because I’m a bit busy “living in the moment” as we like to say. I’m glad you had the courage to reach out.

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