Setting Expectations for Enjoyment

My daughter is cooking up a storm and has company for it too.
My daughter is cooking up a storm ten years ago and has company for it too.

One thing that helps nurture my creativity while traveling is to decide ahead of time what my expectations are.  I recheck them nearly every day while I’m on  my trip.  Did I do what I wanted?  If not, do I still want to do that?  If so, what do I need to do to enjoy or try whatever it is on my list?

Sometimes, of course, other things came up that were either a better choice, more fun, or unavoidable.  When my favorite boy toy and I went to Maine last year, it rained nearly every day.  It didn’t stop us from taking pictures, but we had to work a lot harder at it to get good pictures.  The rain was unavoidable.

Two years ago, while we were in Charleston, South Carolina, we realized there were tremendous opportunities to do night photography.  There were a number of cool things and we didn’t have trouble with being watched or stalked.  That was an opportunity that we didn’t expect.  Because we were out so late each night, we skipped the morning photography even though we wanted sunrises over the ocean.  Actually, we tried one and it was a fizzle due to fog.  But once we started staying up late at night, it didn’t matter if we got up early or not.

A baby Vizsla!  This was his first weekend with us.  He's 12-weeks-old.
A baby Vizsla! This was his first weekend with us. He’s 12-weeks-old.

So what are my expectations for my trip with my daughter?

  • Spend quality time with her
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Shoot more extensive videos of the ocean and surf than I did last time (to see what I shot last year, click here)
  • Show her around
  • Enjoy some fancy meals with her

When I went to Asheville earlier this summer, I set this for my expectations:

  • Relax
  • Write
  • Take pictures
  • Explore
  • Enjoy nice meals

Hmm. . . the food, photography and exploration seem to be a common theme here!

For my trip to Asheville, I met those expectations nearly every day and I had a blast doing it.  For my trip right now, since I didn’t plan to write, I took no laptop.  I also took minimal camera gear since my goal is to spend time with my daughter.

I find it comforting to identify ahead of time what I’m expecting from vacation, then adjusting it as each day unfolds.  This way I can make changes if I’m not getting what I want and adapt if the circumstances warrant it.  It helps me have a better vacation and enjoy my travels more.

So that’s today’s message for nurturing my creativity!  For those in the northern hemisphere, I hope you’re enjoying this fall weather and maybe even some color change.  The leaves are still green here, but you can see the yellow is starting to come through.  A few more weeks and the leaves will be a variety of brilliant colors.

To see everything I’m doing with my 31 Days of Nurturing My Creativity, click here.

To see what others are doing with their 31 Days project, click here.


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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Nancy,

    So I wrote this lengthy reply only to have it disappear from my reader. So I will try again. Yes, I am still very busy. I hope to get a post up this week to begin the update on my Authentic Me life.

    We returned yesterday morning from our trip. I kept expectations simple since it had been over a year since we saw the girls, ages 2 and 3. I had plenty of time to become reacquainted with their lovely little souls. We had kisses and tickles aplenty. So pleased to have spent such precious hours with them. Left loved and tired!

    • Being loved and tired is a great combination! I’m glad you had a good time and I’m glad to still see you in WordPress, whether you write more or not :)

    • Could you send me that link? I’d love to read it. This has always baffled me why setting out my expectations helps me so much to have a better time, whether traveling or working on a project.

      The visit was great and I’ll post about it more shortly.

  2. Thanks for the good advice. I will be leaving this week to spend some time with our darling little granddaughters who had to move to Seattle last year with their parents! I am going to set my expectations, grab my camera gear and play tickles on the floor.

    • Paige – I about fell off my chair when I got your “like” the other day. You’re back!!! I’m so glad to see you visiting my blog again, even if you aren’t blogging again yet. I was still in Maine at the time, so I couldn’t quickly write you back.

      So what are your expectations for your visit? Do you mind sharing? Definitely it includes taking pictures and lots of tickling. Anything else?

      Are you still so busy? I know how badly that can impact having a blog. Still, I’m happy to see you again.


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