No Expectations

Natalia Cohen By

No expectations…

This blog is dedicated to the lovely Lizanne as we had many a discussion on the oars regarding this subject. We never did come to an agreement but we enjoyed this fact, as we actually seemed to agree on pretty much everything else.

in the rain

What exactly are expectations and are they a good thing to have?

Having an anticipated outcome in your mind already of how you are going to feel about a place, person, situation or experience is an expectation.

How can we possibly know what will happen in the future?

Surely we are just setting ourselves up for disappointment with this preconceived idea or notion? So why do we do it?

I make an effort, wherever possible, not to have expectations as the reality very rarely is as good as what the imagination can create.

I have hope rather than expectations.

Being prepared is very different to having expectations and I do believe you can prepare fully for most events mentally and practically.

I had no expectations whatsoever for the row and, to be honest, I think that was the best way to be. I was able to experience things when they happened in a balanced and openhearted way without any predetermined ideas.

I’m not going to lie though; I did have hope for Samoa. I think the main reason was that when I travelled Hawaii in 2013 I went to the Polynesian Cultural Centre and of all the islands represented, Samoa was the one that grabbed my interest the most. There was something that resonated with me and a seed was sown that Samoa had to make it on to my list of top travel destinations. A year later the Row came along!

The island’s deep cultural connection with the ocean inspired me and, as it turned out, for me personally, our arrival into Samoa moved me more than our arrival into Cairns.


(In Samoa. Photo by Alana Fickes)

What has been interesting being back on land are the expectations and often misconceptions everyone has had of us.

‘You must be really fit!’, ‘you must have been so scared’, ‘Are you finding it tough to adjust?’, ‘have you found it difficult to sleep for 8 hours?’ and now and the main question on everyone’s lips…

’What are you going to do next?’

I have absolutely no idea.

I am, however, open to any interesting opportunities that may come my way. Although the travel industry is where my experience lies, I now know that we can achieve anything we set our minds to, so I am excited to see what prospects are out there.

In the meantime I stumbled across a very distinctive company that offer a unique travel concept that I find fascinating and was instantly intrigued. It is a company called Traveleyes that allow blind and partial sighted travellers to unite with sighted travellers and have the experience of a lifetime.

Over the last 15 years I have lived and worked in a variety of different destinations and immersed myself in many cultures. It it always the multi-sensory experience of each place that amazes me. Not only the sights but also the sounds, smells, flavours and feelings you get from exploring somewhere new.

During the row there were hours, days and months of only the ocean as our view, and we often needed to draw upon the other senses to create variety for ourselves. I would regularly spend time concentrating my attention on a different sense to that of sight and, especially at night time, in the pitch black endless sea, it was incredible to learn about the power of the mind and how heightened the other senses would become. It’s amazing how, with some mindfulness and concentration we can tune into these other senses and the sensations they provoke.

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So…with no expectations, I have set my intention to be relaxed and open-minded over the next few weeks and see where the current of life takes me. Just as the waves will eventually wash up onto the shore, I know that the universe will guide me to my next adventure x






  1. Wow what a lovely blog, and that idea of TravelEyes is amazing, to have a journey and experience it through others, I must look them up!!

    I like the way you describe the ‘expectations’ part to this journey, to keep an open mind is how I’ve thought for a long time now, but we have that human nature I guess to quell sometimes, which is a battle as well.

    It’s interesting to hear what questions you’ve been asked, of which I’m sure there’s been hundreds and hundreds since being back, but I like to think that your experience and journey would in comparison appear to looking at the light that comes off a precious stone.

    It is a moment such as the sunrise or the sunset, that captures the light as beautiful as the clear blue of the deep ocean, yet no matter what way you look at it, at that moment it was precious, unique, yet none are more or less as beautiful as the other, because its beauty should always be treasured, you saw the beauty in the journey, and we can tell how much it’s enriched your soul.

    Do keep writing, we love these insights of the experiences…

  2. JG says:

    That picture of the two of you in Doris says it all – a vision of happiness and another burst of South Africa sunshine for me. Thank you for that.

    Expectations are a bit precise for me and always stand a good chance of being a source of disappointment. They are also very inflexible and tend to canalise everything. ‘Wood for the trees’ springs to mind.

    At home we produce a wish list for the year divided into domestic and leisure situations – bi tof a shopping list I suppose. But, like all shopping lists, it is only half the story.

    Opportunities are seized as they arise. We’ve never had a list yet that has actually shrunk in size.

    Seems to me Natalia that you are someone who would contribute hugely into running/guiding occupational holidays for people who want have a working break in different parts of the world. It would follow your persoinal desire to experience other cultures and people and at the same time have the reward of introducing ordinary folk to the same thing.

    I think there are still places where there has been very little, if any, exploration by outside agencies.

    Companies would fall over themselves to have a famous record breaking Pacific Rower on their team.

    Best wishes


  3. Jim Andrews says:

    I agree with your philosophy on expectations. Where ever I have travelled, my thoughts are, try to enjoy all aspects of the place drink in the experience, make the most of each day and don’t regret what you didn’t see/do.
    I am sure there are many who will appreciate and benefit from your skills, and TravelEyes sounds fantastic. XX

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