We all know one whether you realize it or not.
You’re telling a friend, a coworker or a family member about the trip you have planned for the summer.
“I just booked my flight to London. It’s my first time out of the country, so I can’t wait!”
You notice the other person’s eyes light up. You can sense what’s coming.
“Really, your first time?! I’ve been to…let’s see…six countries? No, seven! I always forget about Canada.”
They laugh and change the subject to be about how important it is to see the world. They wonder how and why others don’t take any opportunity to visit another country. Before you know it, you wonder how you got on this topic in the first place.
I call these people “travel snobs.” They hear another person is taking a trip somewhere and immediately pipe up with how often they travel and how many places they’ve seen. They offer advice on different places without asking if someone wants to hear it, and they flip the conversation from being about your adventure to being about their memories.
I get it. I love talking about the places I’ve been, too. (Hence, the creation of this website.)
My eyes light up when I learn one of my friends is planning a trip to a place I loved to visit. I fill with excitement and mentally note all my favorite parts of the area. I prepare for my big moment to provide them with suggestions.
Despite all this, I try my very best to keep quiet. I will, of course, tell them I’ve been where they’re going. Then I wait. I wait for them to ask me what I did while I was there, and divulge any information I can think of with disclaimers.
“I loved touring the Belle Meade Plantation, but my friends thought it was boring. If you’re not into history, the place isn’t for you.”
I’ll highlight my favorite parts and let them know it’s not something they’ll necessarily be interested in. You can’t expect everyone to enjoy the same things you did.
I can’t say I contain my excitement every time traveling is brought up in conversation. I can’t say I don’t tell people I love to travel any chance I get. I certainly can’t say I’ve never told someone how many countries I’ve been to either.
It happens. I know it happens. It’s hard not to brag about your cherished memories! However, I think it’s important to keep it contained in order to avoid seeming like a travel snob.
To me, traveling is about learning more about a country than you ever could in your textbooks.
To me, traveling is about finding yourself in the most unlikely places.
To me, traveling is about making memories that only you will cherish.
Notice I don’t say “you and whoever you’re with,” because that’s not the case. You are two different people experiencing a place from different perspectives. You’ll notice things about a region that many others will never see. You’ll get a feeling from a city street that you will never be able to explain.
Knowing this, it’s so much easier to avoid the possibility of being labeled as a travel snob. You’ll soon realize that people who have never even left their home state see things and feel things about that area that you will never understand. They may not even realize it, and they may very well be dying to get out, but that’s not the point.
The point is quite simple: traveling is a privilege that many may never experience. One-upping a friend by telling them you’ve been to more countries than they have isn’t in the spirit of traveling. If you’ve ever felt the need to respond with how many places you’ve been, ask yourself, “why?”
What is that getting you? A pat on the back? A “wow, you’re lucky?” Yes, you are lucky. But you shouldn’t need to practically ask someone else to say that to you. Take advantage of the fact that you can go to all these places and keep the comments to yourself. Quite frankly, no one cares how many countries you’ve been to, unless they ask you directly.
Trying to overshadow someone else’s excitement about their trip does nothing good for you. Be excited for your friend, coworker, or family member. Ask about their plans and wish them a safe trip. Remind them how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity whether they are traveling across the globe or driving somewhere within your own state.
Anyone who can go on an adventure is just as lucky as the next.