EXPECTATIONS

One valuable lesson I’ve learned from my travels is to let go of all your expectations before visiting a new place. In a world with endless travel blogs and beautiful Instagram travel photos, it’s easier now than ever to get caught up on the “must see” and “most picturesque” places. If you build up expectations in your mind for these places and spend all your time trying to meet them, you don’t leave room for the unexpected.

Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona

On a trip to Sedona, Arizona this year I searched out all the best views and hikes, which don’t get me wrong were incredible. But, on the last day when I didn’t have anything planned, I stumbled across something truly special that I never expected to find. I decided to go on a quick morning hike that was close to the Hampton by Hilton hotel where I was staying. This wasn’t any hike that showed up in the guide books, just a little trail I noticed when I drove by the day before. After about 15 minutes down the red, rocky trail, there in the middle of the woods was a sacred Buddhist site with no one around. Prayer flags blew in the wind, centered around a Stupa. There were places around the Stupa to sit and meditate and take in the tranquility while listening to the sounds of the wind.

Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona

This experience ended up being the highlight of my trip. It far surpassed catching sunset at the “must-see” sunset site with crowds of other people straining to get their shot.

So, I encourage you on your next adventure to let go of your expectations because doing this will open the door for the unexpected. And when you just enjoy a place for what it is, not what you expect it to be, it can never disappoint you.

Thank you to Hampton by Hilton for inviting me to be part of your Ultimate Seekender team, encouraging me to seize the weekend, and giving me the opportunity to let go of expectations.

Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona
Carley Rudd Travel Photography Sedona Arizona

This post was made in partnership with Hampton by Hilton.