Cuba changed my life because it wasn’t what I expected it to be—in fact, it was quite the opposite. Being the eager explorer that I am, before my outing to Cuba I went through months perusing pretty much whatever I might put my hands on. Assuming it discussed Cuba, I needed to understand it. Everything suggested that traveling to Cuba would be simple, and that the people there would be kind and welcoming.

My time in Cuba wasn’t all that great. Yes, it is a beautiful country, and now that I have more travel experience and knowledge, I am ready to go back a few years later. However, it was awful back then. During my 23 days there, it was always hard to stay away from scams. Sometimes I was successful, but other times I was terrible. It was baffling. I felt like no one could be trusted. Where were the lovely Cubans that everyone in blogs talked about?

I learned in Cuba that people lie, especially or especially online. Because no one really wants to admit that they’ve had a bad experience, and no one really wants to read about other people’s bad experiences—but is that really the case?