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A journey is more memorable if it doesn't go according to plan. Some trips only have a few unplanned events, such as a missed connection or a rained-out parade.
Other trips turn into adventure literature, such as the 1910 Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica, "The Worst Journey in the World."
Social scientists found that we're not very good at predicting what will and will not make us happy. We think more stuff will make us happy, but research shows that experiences bring the greatest pleasure.
We assume the perfect journey will make us happy, but unexpected twists make the trip memorable.
We travel to stretch our abilities, to test ourselves. Bad trips help us to become the hero of the journey.
The steps in a hero story are always the same. The hero starts a journey, is tested, passes the test, and finally returns home transformed.
Bad events make deeper impressions than good ones. Over time, we forget the bad stuff in it and remember the good - known as the "fading affect bias." Researchers show that we will remember the positive ones with heightened emotions in them.
When we retell a tale, our minds revise it. With each retelling, it gets bigger. You don't just say the fish you caught was the size of a small car, you believe it because you remember it that way.
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