Chatting with a couple of friends on social media we were joking about dropping the pretence that we travel for personal growth but just for bragging rights. Shock, horror ……. it was quite tongue in cheek but after a little contemplation as with most things said in jest there seems a spark of truth at the root of the comment.
Does being a traveller score me extra points with the ladies or massage my ego a little? Not convinced about the first, if anybody can confirm it does please let me know, a few tips in dealing with the fairer sex are always welcome. To totally deny the second however would be a little dishonest, the reaction sometimes received when a fantastic destination is discussed can provide that ‘ten foot tall’ feeling for at least several minutes.
There are however some that take it the extreme, they are unavoidable when travelling they frequent every hostel and hotel in the known Universe. Let’s see if you recognise any of these characters:
The most obvious braggers as they have more stamps than the Royal Mail and with passports potentially as thick as ‘War and Peace’. Most are totally cool but some cannot resist passing on the little gem that they have visited more countries than the common cold.
Being proud of your travelling credentials its fine by me and destinations visited are obviously a common subject of conversation between travellers but repetitively informing others that the entire British Royal family has travelled less than they have does not seem very cool.
There is also something mildly disturbing about somebody that chooses to read their passport in the hostel communal areas every evening. I don’t care how many stamps it has, it cannot be that interesting get a good novel people!
One upmanship guy
Possibly the epitome of the competitive traveller; everything that you have experienced they have done bigger and better. Been to the Antarctic, they have spent two winters there, stood on top of Everest, they shinnied up the Tibetan flag or maybe you had the once in a lifetime experience of a flight in a jetfighter, they have orbited the Earth in a space shuttle!
Exaggeration possibly, but it does always amaze me sometimes why people feel the need to make travel into a competition. The consummate bragger.
Got the t-shirt
A far more subtle way of bragging involves the blasé attitude that they’ve seen, all, done all, and the worn the t-shirt. This display of indifference is for me especially irksome; my own feelings when travelling to another destination or culture are akin to a young child in a sweet shop.
It is understandable that those that travelling for extended periods maybe suffering a little ‘burn-out’. They can become indifferent to the sights and sounds of another culture, numbed to their experiences due to fatigue, loneliness or feelings of homesickness.
However the super cool dude explaining that Machu Picchu is not worth the walk, The Great Ocean Road is not so great and that the Amazon is just a big river has often only flown from their own country just yesterday.
I am at least hoping that this is actually just pretence and they do not really believe what they are saying. If they genuinely believe that then it is only possible to feel a little sorry for them. Travelling is all about excitement in a strange destination, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of an alien and exotic culture or destination.
If this genuinely fails to excite anybody; a committed traveller or otherwise they have my sympathy.
The blogger that spends most of their social time discussing their blog, however awesome it maybe is another form of bragger. There are other much less tiresome topics of conversation, feeling like you are constantly being networked when supposedly enjoying a meal, drink or guided tour can often result in an early return to the accommodation.
Having a cool site explained for ten minutes in the confines of the hostel is fine by me. However after spending half a day with the same person and their only topic of conversation has been monthly unique views, site traffic and their latest post on financing travels by selling jock straps for athletic Chihuahuas is likely to have me making my excuses and parting company.
Being proud of a site is completely justified, but as a wiser man than me once similarly quoted “beat me, starve me, rob me or ignore me just don’t bore me”.
The know-alls will definitely not have made it to reading this far; there is nothing they do not already know. When visiting a different destination it is often useful to spend a little time and money hiring the services of a guide. On at least several occasions the benefit was negated by a member of the group insisting on questioning almost everything the guide tells us, sometimes even correcting them.
Make no mistake if absolutely certain that a statement is inaccurate I would also probably say something discreetly to the guide and give them the chance to inform the group at a suitable point. However later research of these ‘corrections’ I have only ever found one occasion when the know-all was proved correct.
This is just their way of showing how knowledgeable and well-travelled they are, regardless of whether the facts are correct or not. In most cases the guides are reciting a well prepared narrative, the only time their information usually becomes a little ‘foggy’ is when asked a specific question. It is often embarrassing for them to admit they are unsure of the answer.
It is not only during guided tours know-alls spoil the enjoyment of others, espousing their ‘facts’ about a destination at almost every opportunity. They are often combine the characteristics of several kinds of bragger but the bottom-line is they are often quite clueless!
There is not much to say about these braggers except they are the worst, their bragging is not even true. Any form of dishonesty is unpleasant; most also combine it with some other form of bragging. It often soon becomes obvious that the truth is at the very least being stretched as they will be vague about details and make claims that it was sometime ago explaining their woolliness.
There is not any place for those that feel it necessary to make up their travelling credentials. Personally I’ll find somebody else to chat to if lies are suspected.
Travelling is not a competition; it is rare that prizes are handed out to the most well-travelled or knowledgeable among us.
It is great if somebody has visited one hundred countries, better still if it’s a hundred cultures but when they constantly feel the need to remind everybody as if superior in some way, to be honest they become a bore! Travel rock stars never bore.
Enjoying travelling is be about doing just that, travelling for its own sake and for our own motives. Forget bragging rights and when you check the bags, check the ego too!
Do you have any horror stories about bragging travel companions? Share them in the comments.