How’s everyone’s week starting off? Anyone excited for St. Patty’s day on Thursday? In Canada, I used to celebrate this day every year, wear some green clothing, drink a couple of green beers- the whole 9 yards. It seems as though the UK doesn’t really get into the celebrations as much (or maybe just I’m getting older so don’t hang out with those who do celebrate) but for the past few years, I haven’t done anything to celebrate.
So today, I thought I’d talk about something that I’ve noticed for quite some time. I’m going to call it the Lonely Traveller (because it sounds super melodramatic and like the story of a novel I would definitely read).
When I was back in Canada, visiting my family in August, I was sat at the dinner table with my parents, grandma, aunt, and sister. I hadn’t seen some of my family in a couple of years, and I was excited to tell them about the travels I had been on, and how living in a different country was going. However, before I knew it, the meal was over, and no one had asked a single question about it, and instead we had spent most of the meal discussing Caitlyn Jenner, and the price of fruits and vegetables (2 separate topics of course).
This coincided with something that I have subtly known for quite some time but never wanted to admit. And it’s this: No one cares about my travels. That sounds super depressing, but honestly, I don’t think anyone really cares about anyone else’s travels.
Now I love talking about my travels (obviously- I have an entire blog devoted to it!). It’s a huge part of my life and something I’m immensely interested in. And sometimes it can feel almost like a personal insult when people don’t want to discuss travels with me- as it feels like they don’t care about me personally.
However, I get it. We all want to talk about things that we can identify with. People love talking about weddings, because we’ve all at least attended a wedding and can contribute to the conversation. Or about buying a house, as most adults (or at least a lot of adults I work with) have gone through that. But travels are something that are inherently very personal- some trips can feel absolutely life-changing, but they are only life-changing for the person who experienced the trip.
I remember coming back from back-packing SE Asia after University, and being so excited to share all of my pictures. And sitting down with one friend and he started having a look through them. As he looked at the pictures, I filled him in with the details behind the pictures, and funny stories of that day, and I was getting more and more excited for each picture to show up so I could share more. But yet, as I got more and more excited, I could see his eyes glazing over more and more.
Finally, he admitted defeat, and told me that we would look at the rest of the pictures “later”. It’s been 6 years and “later” has never come.
And as sad as it makes me, I get it. I don’t like looking at thousands of picture’s either (unless they’re my own, of course). No matter how beautiful the image, or how amazing the story is, I would say that most people have an attention span for these things of about 20 minutes, and that’s if they truly love you. With strangers- probably closer to 5. After that, it’s not interesting for them anymore.
Which means that when your someone who loves traveling, and loves thinking about the next place to travel, and you want to talk about it, it can be lonely. Because unless you have someone who loves traveling like you do, they want to talk about anything else.
After I realised this, and felt sad about it for awhile, I realised there are also a couple of positives from this realisation.
First, I take a lot fewer pictures. I try and enjoy the moment I’m in, and truly experience it, rather than snapping a thousand pictures to look at later and have something to show someone. The pictures that I do take, are for me, and therefore have more sentimental value. Sure, I’ll snap a few on my phone for Instagram, but I would say about 90% of my photos are never shared with anyone but myself.
Second, I cherish conversations with people that I meet traveling that much more. Fellow travellers are probably the only exception to those who want to talk travels- but that’s because they can compare their own stories with you.
Ultimately, traveling is about your own passion. While it can be sad that I can’t share it with others, I try and understand that it’s not anything personal, and remember that I travel for myself, not to have stories for the dinner table.
So friends and family- I get it. And I promise to not force you to look through all of my pictures, if you promise me that I don’t have to look through all of yours.
How about other travel-lovers out there? Do you ever feel lonely about not being able to talk all travel all the time?