What not to ask a traveller

living, noteworthy, travel

Helen War hopes for revolution in thought.

“How was your trip? Did you do everything?” I hadn’t seen her in three years. Groaning inwardly, I managed to hack together some words and sounds to express delight regarding my last 2 trips overseas. This, my friends, is quite possibly the most annoying thing to ask anyone that has been on an extended adventure. There’s a point on those trips where you realise and remember that you’re living, you’re in it – your movements and challenges surpass the label of “holiday”. Indeed, it’s not a mere suspension of your life, but life in perhaps its most invigorated form.

I reason that some people feel overwhelmed by the prospect of extensive travel, and thus excitedly ask the most broad and all-encompassing question they can think of. This throws me into a momentary conundrum where my next words or reaction are not knee-jerk, can range in broad spectrum from “the best time of my life” to “the most sickening experience” and both would be equally true. I find it difficult to respond to a question that doesn’t honestly seek an answer. There’s little space to move except “err… yeah. I did…. everything.” Though of course, our different definitions of “everything” immediately invalidate the conversation, and make it difficult for me to invest further energy and excitement on such tenuousness.

Most of my family members have accused me of lecturing, and I respect that, to the extent I actively aim not to express my observations at length with them. I realise my pedantry has lost me a lot of friends, but it’s hard to suppress the strong incredulity at such annoying interactions. That said, I too have caught myself asking broad questions and instantly feel the other party’s silent sigh at my apparent base knowledge. Quickly, I try to follow up with a more tangible enquiry.

I encourage people to make a concerted effort to ask questions that invite a response they are prepared to listen to, as opposed to satisfying some null sense of etiquette with a carelessly broad question.


Yay or nay? Come on dowwwwn to comment.








4 thoughts on “What not to ask a traveller

  1. I haven’t had extended travelling experiences like you but I know what you mean about shallow conversation. I don’t like answering inane questions, seems like a waste of time, but people mean well most of the time. It would be nice if people were willing to engage in deeper conversation though.

    You know what else is annoying? When people don’t comment on your website when you create one! So here’s me commenting on your website 🙂

  2. True, people mean well. Though when you can see right through a conversation, it’s futile. Heheh, to be fair on the world, I only made this site a week or so ago.

  3. You’ve hit the nail on the head there. I tend to get “So how was it?” when I’ve already been back so long that it takes me a minute to understand what they are referring to… 🙂

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