A big part of any trip is the expectations we pack with us when we go. It’s easy to see the amazing photos touted by travel brochures and expect to see something like that. Often our expectations are met, and we leave happy. But what happens when we go places with no real expectations and a spirit of discovery?

In some of my recent trips, I purposefully avoided looking up much (or there wasn't much available) so I could enjoy an area without too many preformed expectations. Often I traveled places for family trips, such as the central mountains of Idaho, central Utah, or Big Cottonwood Canyon.

With a good spirit of discovery, you can find a lot of beauty and wonder in many places both close to home and further away. Instead of trying to demand a particular experience or scenery, you take the place as it is and get to know its personality as you explore. It's easy to begin to see the possibilities in a place and wish to return there for later explorations.

An intense, goal-driven trip can be fun and focused, but an open, exploration-driven one can be much more enlightening. In either case, it's great to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors.