….but we are all fabulous.
I have spent the weekend researching and booking a week’s self-catering accommodation in Santorini. It’s finally done, but I almost feel like I need a holiday to recover from the process.
We decided we quite fancied a week on a Greek Island for a delayed honeymoon. I got very excited, read some travel guides and that was all wonderful. In the old days I would have gone to my local travel agent, got some brochures and booked the accommodation that looked the nicest. We would then have gone away and enjoyed it, visiting restaurants that took our fancy while we were there.
Now of course, there’s TripAdvisor….
Don’t get me wrong, in some ways it’s great that you can do some quality checks before you buy, but it actually ends up inducing as much concern (in me at least) as it disperses. Even the best places have the occasional negative comment, either from lurking rivals or from disgruntled visitors who had different expectations. I find myself concerned about the ‘hard beds’ or the ‘grumpy manager’ that everyone else said was ‘comfortable’ or ‘charming’ respectively.
And once on my carefully selected holiday, no longer do I potter about stopping at the first place for food that takes my fancy, discovering little gems for myself, but instead I aim for the best rated restaurant, worrying about the ‘under-cooked meat’ or ‘bland food’ of lesser restaurants (unless of course we have a local recommendation, which I find an invaluable way of avoiding the tyranny of TripAdvisor).
As someone who can be anxious, I lean on reviews to avoid the things that worry me but somehow in the process it sucks some of the pleasure out of new experiences. Life isn’t meant to be an airbrushed, pre-approved experience but rather a voyage of discovery, with good bits to savour and bad bits to laugh about in years to come. Review over-reliance also means I stop listening to my own instincts. Not to mention which they can be misleading: never have I been so disappointed by a meal as when we went to a restaurant in Sheringham which one reviewer had dubbed ‘the best thai meal I have ever had’. I can only assume that the word ‘best’ could have been replaced with the word ‘only’.
Happily, one of the criticisms about many places in Santorini seems to be a lack of WiFi, thus cutting the supply chain of my review addiction. We will just have to explore, rely on local recommendations and take chances on places we like the look of. It may well be that one of the so called negatives reported by many ends up in fact being a real positive for me, something to really write home about!