Dreaming–Anticipation and Expectations

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

We all love to dream.  Most of you can close your eyes and imagine a better place than you are presently experiencing (unless you currently are on a great vacation or at an awesome event).  Often it is travel you dream about—getting away, experiencing new places, the sights and sounds, the food and wine, the iconic buildings and spaces, and expanding your knowledge of the world.

One of the best part of travel is your anticipation of going on a trip and the expectations of what you will experience.  Even as I write this, my mind often drifts to going on a river cruise, or visiting Europe.  There is so much to see, do and experience, that 45 years’ worth of travel is just not enough—I want more! 

Chef's Table 2016
Friends at the Chef’s Table on our 2016 AmaWaterways river cruise–Hank is dreaming!

So, I thought I’d like to share my thoughts about the anticipation and expectations of travel and tell you an inspiring story about some of my early travels in Europe.


Anticipation is excitement about something that is going to happen.  The key word is excitement.  Our curiosity is endless—will it be fun, boring, memorable, dull or just average?  Our minds are such a powerful thing—mankind has created such amazing things and better ways to live because we used our brain power.  Now you should go and see what has been created or preserved.

We can help.  We want to build excitement for your trip!  Cool pictures, best experiences, fun—we know how to get it for you and can express it to you through our knowledge, words, photos, and travel experiences.  Just dream a little, tell us about it,—we’ll do the rest.

Hall of Mirrors
I always anticipated going to Versailles and standing in the Hall of Mirrors


Expectations are a strong belief that something is going to happen.  The key word is belief.  We believe that an upcoming event or experience is going to be fun, boring, memorable, dull or just average. 

We can help here also.  We will provide you with experiences on a vacation that will live up to your strong belief that it is going to be a great trip.  Again, just tell us what you want to experience and what level of experiences you desire and—we’ll do the rest.

Schnitzel–my expectations for fresh, good German food usually come true.

An inspiring travel tale

As we sat with our backpacks in front of us in Frankfurt’s Old Town, I started to realize we should have done a little more planning about our first trip to Europe in 1971.  My expectations were starting to get a little out of control—I had really messed up!  We had no real plan to find a room, or any real travel skills.  What if this trip was going to be a bust?

I guess, to understand this story, you will have to go back to my early Army days as a young lieutenant.  After graduating from West Point, we had 60 days leave prior to reporting tour our first assignments.  A classmate and I decided to go to Europe for 6 weeks.  We had a Euro rail pass, our plane tickets, American Express traveler checks, and a rough plan to make a big circle train trip in Germany, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, and winding up in England.  We had read Europe on $5.00 a Day.  What more did anyone need?

A postcard from our 1971 trip to Europe–my first!

We were a little foggy from the overnight flight and I’m sure looking quite lost in the Alte Stadt (German for old town) of Frankfurt.  As we sat there on a bench, trying to figure out what to do, an elderly gentleman wandered up and ask if we were Americans and was it our first trip to Germany, using English.  We weren’t sure if this was some kind of scam, but replied yes.  He then ask if we knew how to find a good place to stay.  Again, not sure of his motives, we replied no.  He then said, will you let me help?  Still a little fearful, we said OK.  He then led us to a small place and told us in Germany to look for a “Zimmer Frei” –a room available.  He explained these were small B & B type operations, often  modestly priced and a great value.  Thinking maybe he wanted a reward, I offered a tip.  He refused and said the Americans had liberated his country and he wanted to help Americans when possible.  He also told us that good German food was often available at a Gasthaus (German for guest house).  He then, ambled away, with a smile on his face.

Our first experience with Europeans was great.  It taught me there are some really good people in this world and there are a lot of kind folks in the world.  My anticipation of an adventure of a lifetime was high, and my expectations changed during the trip, mostly for the better.  The whole trip was a life changing experience, challenging but fun and just stoked my desire to travel more, especially in Europe! 

Trust—the key to satisfying your anticipation and expectations in your travel

My story about my first trip does have a great message.  In life, we do have to trust to some degree. 

In travel, you can do it on your own or trust a professional to do it for you.  We hope you will choose us to help you.  Do you trust us?  To me a reputation for honest dealings is the only way to conduct business and we need to earn your trust every day. 

It is our job to discover what great is to you, and advise you, our client, how to get it.  It is a constant process of getting to know you, building trust, adjusting to lifestyle changes—a dynamic process that requires us to contact you often.  The more we know about you, the better job we will do.

I also like to say that we “do what is right when no one is looking.”  We are authentic and transparent and realize we are only as good as our next transaction or contact with you.  In short, our goal is to provide you trips that will: exceed your expectations; help you make wise choices; eliminate hassles and we will help you get the best value for your money!

I think we can manage both the anticipation and expectations of your trip to provide a better travel experience for you.  We hope you agree.

My Final Thoughts

We are travel experts, ocean and river cruise experts, and Europe destination experts.  We have first-hand knowledge of almost anywhere you want to visit in Europe.  We know our products and the vendors who sell them to you.  We have designed special tours for dozens of clients, led several and will continue to find just the right vacation that will exceed your expectations.

When you are spending your hard earned money for a vacation, you want an advisor who can match you with the right trip.  You want someone who will understand your expectations and fuel your anticipation (or excitement) to get you the best possible trip experience.

Whatever your Dream Destinations are, we are here to help you get the best possible vacation based on what is important to you!  We will provide you high quality, expertly planned travel.  Please give me a call 713-397-0188 (Hank) or email me at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com.  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

HANK is a certified Western European Destination Specialist (DS) who has been traveling to Europe for 45 years.  He is also an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), conferred by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).  This recognized expert in cruise and leisure travel is a retired Army Officer, and taught World Geography for 8 years.  He is a `71 graduate of West Point and has earned 2 master’s degrees.   His other Certifications:

  • AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist
  • Viking River Cruise Specialist
  • Scenic River Cruise Specialist
  • Emerald Waterways  Specialist
  • Avalon Waterways Specialist
  • Brit Agent

2 thoughts on “Dreaming–Anticipation and Expectations

  1. Hank,

    Good blog.

    Your photo of the Hall of Mirrors reminds me that frequently Jane and I are watching a movie, and remark “yeah, we’ve been there.” Kind of magical.

    Happens every time we see the Hall of Mirrors in a movie.




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