A lot of travelers, both seasoned and newbies, fall into the trap of thinking they’re the most fascinating people in the world because of all the cool things they saw and did abroad. But here’s the thing. No one cares! There’s a good reason why no one seems all that eager to hear your travel stories, and that’s because they’re not interesting.
I know it seems counterintuitive coming from someone who spends her entire life writing about travel on this blog. But the majority of my readers are total strangers, who presumably have some interest in the topics I write about. Only a very small percentage of the people frequenting this blog know me personally. Those that do know me personally don’t care that much how I spent a day in Coimbra. It’s not because my friends are dicks…
It’s because what travelers sometimes fail to realize is that it’s hard to carry on a conversation with someone when you have nothing to add to the discussion. If you just went to Croatia and you’re dying to talk about Croatia, no one around you is going to care what you have to say unless they’ve also been to Croatia or they’re thinking about going to Croatia. The conversation becomes effectively irrelevant to them… unless you did something there they can relate to, like go on a bad date or get food poisoning.
One of the many pet peeves I have about travel blogging is those annoying think pieces long-term travelers write about no longer being able to connect with people back home. Travel angst is the ultimate #firstworldproblem. If that’s happening to you, it’s not because your friends and family are jealous or resentful or rude. And it’s definitely not because travel has made you better/more worldly/intellectual/cultured than them. It’s because you’ve become boring. I hate to break it to you, but no amount of dots on a map is going to make you an interesting person. And if that’s the primary reason you travel, in addition to not being interesting, you’re probably also really obnoxious.
Being interesting involves knowing how to interact on a relatable level with other human beings. It means listening just as much as you talk in conversation. Otherwise, you’re giving a lecture. And no one wants to be lectured, even about something as scintillating as Mediterranean beaches. The key thing to remember is that what is enthralling is relative to who you talk to. Unless you have some topics of conversation that both parties can contribute to, the conversation will be awkward and one-sided. And with good reason. Imagine if you had a friend who only ever wanted to discuss fan theories for a show you don’t watch. Doesn’t sound so fun, does it? That’s basically what you’re doing when you only talk about your vacations to people who weren’t there.
If you want to be able to talk to your friends about your travels, you better take them with you.