It’s not uncommon for people who live overseas to complain about people back home who don’t want to hear about their journeys. They recount the eye rolls and vacant looks. A woman I know once lamented that she just couldn’t get excited hearing about one of her relative’s new deck or window treatments whenever she returned to the U.S. After all, she’d just been on a run past cows in the streets of New Delhi. How could a new deck compete with that?
Maybe a new deck can’t compete with a cow, unless you’re the person thrilled with the deck. Or that those drafty windows are long gone. And, perhaps the idea of running past cows milling through garbage isn’t all that alluring. Isn’t there the idea that one person’s junk might be another person’s treasure?
In Brave New Traveler, there’s a food for thought article by Christine Gavin that looks at the communication pitfalls when it comes to talking about ones experiences–whether you’re talking with another world traveler, or to your relative who is serving you dinner on that brand new deck. She calls it a “holier than thou” attitude.
From what she says, and I concur, it’s not that people don’t want to hear travel tales, it’s just that they want you to be interested in what they have been up to as well. People aren’t fond of braggarts—particularly those who feel they are at the top of the pack of people worthy of attention. Then again, maybe they just aren’t that interested. In that case, it doesn’t hurt to say, “Nice deck.”