And let me start with the number one question that bugs me above all others. Drum roll, if you please…
What’s your favourite country/city/place?
Ummm. Honestly, I will put it out there, I don’t really have an absolute favourite. I just don’t. I have places I loved and places I hated, but all in all, I have found something worthwhile in every place I’ve been. So being asked to make a call like that, well, it’s such an over asked question. If I have to pin down a place, a country, I might say ‘Iran’, which always results in strange looks. And then I have to justify it. And hear how someone else’s favourite country is ‘France’. Like… so original. I love a lot of countries – Central Asia, Ethiopia, had amazing adventures in Mali, India is brilliant too and the list goes on.
Oh here’s a question. You come back from a 6 week trip and someone asks you ‘what did you do?’. If I’m at all tired, and I should preface this by saying this is a question that people ask this question as a curtesy and they expect a short answer, I really don’t want to answer this. I mean, what do you say? ‘I went sightseeing and took photos’?, ‘I explored’? ‘A real bunch of different things’? Honestly if I go away for a week to the Gold Coast and chill for a week, I can answer this. But for a longer trip, knowing full well that in general people don’t care about what I did, I don’t see the point. Plus you know, if they were really interested they could just check THIS BLOG 😛
And here’s the secret – unless you bought them things, people often don’t care too much about what you did when overseas. Sure, after your first trip or two you may come home from 7 months abroad feeling like a triumphant hero, having conquered many lands and drunk many beers. And everyone IS excited to see you. And then you get questions like ‘How was it?’. I want to be plainly obvious here. This is a simple question which evokes a pretty closed answer. ‘Great!’, ‘Fantastic!’, ‘Amazing!’, ‘Oh My God, it was SO Good!’. What else are you going to say? Travel is a cartload of experiences tied together by the thread that is you. But to summarise them? Well, to put into a short answer, it’s going to read like the above.
And really, that may be the extent of what people REALLY want to know. My parents would travel and come home and show me all their photos. And this experience is perhaps the best way to share you experiences. Although some people will flick through photo albums so quickly you wonder if they looked at ANY of your photos. Or you will show your grandfather who at one point will make REALLY awkward remarks about the colour of people’s skin in Africa.
But honestly, no-one will care like they expect you to care when they show you their photos. And hey, people’s lives go on when you’re away and you’re having a good time and they are getting u at 630am each day to go to work. You can’t expect them to be as enthusiastic about your travels as you are. And if you’re NOT enthusiastic about your travels, well, maybe you should be going to different places!
However, there is one kind of travel story that is GUARANTEED to evoke interest, and it’s usually not one that is prompted by a question. If it was, it would be something like – ‘Did anything bad happen to you when you were overseas?’
Yes, I have often said that posts about bad experiences, disasters, things that went awry or indeed clearly negative posts in general seem to garner more views than others, and if you have a horror story from travel, people seem to be drawn into these kinds of stories. ‘What? You got MALARIA? What happened?’ – suddenly people are interested, intrigued, they will go on an emotional journey with you. These sort of experiences form the stories that you can tell time and time again. No-one wants to hear about how cool sleeping under the stars in the desert was. But if you got bitten by a scorpion, they will be glued to your every word!
So anyways. This is yet another post that started somewhere and finished somewhere a bit different. But hey, that’s the beauty of riffing online, right? What questions do you hate? And what have been your most popular travel stories? Thanks for tuning in – May the Journey Never End!