Adjusting Your Travel Expectations
I’ve been back from Malta for a few weeks and I managed to shake the melancholy but I wanted to share a little something I wrote in the moment about struggling to adjust my travel expectations.
I’m sitting on a bean bag chair in one of the hostel’s common areas trying desperately not to scratch any of the 20+ itchy bug bites I’ve picked up in two days and listening to the thunder outside grow closer, putting a damper on my activity planning. Malta, we’ve gotten off to a rocky start.
I landed in Malta on a sunny afternoon and everything seemed cool. I checked into my hostel – a really nice one with a pool – and did a quick change in order to catch my bus heading to a village festa in Gudja. I saw the distinctive red double decker CitySightseeing bus round the corner, slow down, and then drive on past me. I ran after it, in heels no less, to no avail. I searched for a public bus route that might get me there to no avail. I’d missed the only chance to get to a festa on this trip, not to mention €17 for the tour.
While consoling myself with pizza and a beer I turned my attention to the weather forecast. Rain, cloud, thunderstorms. *heavy sigh* It was looking like mid-20s and all sunshine when I’d booked this trip and I’d been looking forward to having lazy pool and beach time in the sun. Instead I’m being eaten alive by mosquitos in the rain. Seriously, I have almost 30 very itchy bites in two days. When I pulled back the curtain windows this morning and saw the sheets of rain pelting the pool and heard the rumble in the sky my hope for the day balled up in my throat and sank like a stone to my stomach. What would I do now?
I have a hard time when rain forces me to change my plans. It happened in Ireland. It happened in the Philippines. It happened in Brussels. It threatened my plans in Slovenia but I pushed on with my raincoat and umbrella and did the walking tours anyway. But I struggle. My mood gets gloomy and I get contrary. My brain is like a GPS after you’ve taken a wrong turn. “Recalculating. Recalculating. Recalculating.” I know there are still interesting things to do but I’m stubborn and my brain is still holding tight to those sunny beach daydreams.
I keep searching for things to do in Malta and I keep finding articles that talk about boat tours, beaches, hiking, water sports, and other outdoors pursuits. So guys, expect a future Malta in the Rain post from me. :P
The challenge now is to get over myself and get out of my own way so that I can enjoy my time here. I need to find a way to make lemonade from thunderstorm lemons. Adjusting travel expectations is tough. How do you guys deal with it?
I feel guilt when I do nothing but hang out in coffee shops, read books, or edit photos since I could do those things at home. Even though I would never judge someone else for doing those exact things. I’m not sure how much of it is my own feeling of obligation to the blog and being able to share all that a destination has to offer, how much is my limited time, and how much is my guilt of privilege. I’m lucky to be able to travel to these amazing places and sometimes I feel like I should always be making the most of my time for those people who will never get to be here. I feel guilty being the girl who travelled thousands of km to watch Netflix and take a nap, even if that’s exactly what I need at the time. Is that really weird? Travel guilt, it’s a thing for me.
For now, I’m trapped in my hostel listening to the most intense thunder and lightening I’ve experienced since Ibiza in 2014. Adjusting my expectations of this trip. Looking for indoor things to do that aren’t shopping. The rain will let up though and then I’m going to get on a bus and check out a 3,000 year old temple. Can’t do that at home. I’ll try to enjoy a mid-morning nap after the early mornings of Slovenia. I’ll try to get out of my own way and have fun.
So I’m just going to have to come back another time for a festa and beaches and boat tours. Having something to look forward to on a return trip isn’t a bad thing. Travel isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and sometimes you just need to chill out and watch a little Maltese Netflix.
November 11th, 2017 at 1:07 pm (#)
I used to get travel guilt too, and when I took a long break to travel, I was going at a pretty hectic pace at the start – you definitely can’t pack it all in and keep up the pace in the long run, and these days even for short trips, I’ve learned that even if I’m not ‘doing something productive’, just being in a different country and interacting with people is the chance for me to make my own cool experiences :)
November 11th, 2017 at 1:35 pm (#)
You’re definitely right. I met some really great people on this trip and hanging out with them was great, even if it’s not an active “doing something cool” moment. Downtime and chill out time is definitely needed when you travel.
November 15th, 2017 at 8:58 pm (#)
I definitely see where you’re coming from and feel the same way a lot of the time! Rain is such a killer sometimes, but what I’ve realized is that a) sometimes places are even cooler in the rain and b) there are a lot of interesting things to do and people to meet indoors! I know this can put a damper on travel plans, but I try not to let it kill my trips.