You come into a new culture, country, or experience with pre-existing assumptions of what you will experience. If you're able to wrangle that brain of yours, maybe you are able to mentally wipe your slate clean and go in completely fresh. Either way, you have the tendency to expect certain things out of something you have yet to do or see. Be mindful of these pre-assumptions.
Why? Reading these pre-assumptions during or after your trip can help you identify the lens you are using to view this new experience. Sometimes your self-transformation is the most important story you can tell (and should remember).
One way to be mindful is to do a brain purge before an experience and write down everything you already assume. Pocket this until the end of your trip, and when you come face to face with your new experience, reflect on the impact of the travel experience upon what you previously thought you knew. Use these thinking exercises on yourself.
I used to think...Now, I think…
What makes you say so?
Connect what you see to what you thought; extend your understanding to what you've experienced, and challenge what you know now.