I learned a long time ago that when returning from a journey, heart and mind filled with reflections on the things I have seen, people met, the places explored, the scents, emotions, secrets and sensations experienced, its really not good to talk about it too much.
Camera loaded with amazing photos, tales of people met, places seen and dangers overcome fill you, as you sit comfortable in the knowledge that you have something very special to offer now that you are home again and with friends. There is a fine point between simply saying that the travel was great and being a travel bore. Even sitting with another traveller it can become a competition trading the most beautiful, the most ugly, the highest, longest and most dangerous, oh and of course the oldest. Comparing notes on outlandish activities you would not do at home, and the sensuality of travelling is not wise, its easy to become a travel bore.
How much people really want to know you have to gauge. How many times people say would love to see your photos, but still they are unseen by all but you, except for one with a fabulous beach which is all they seem to want to see. You wonder why, you are slightly hurt. You have the wonders of the world to lay at your audience’s feet, but somehow they dont really want to know. “They are envious” you whisper to yourself, “they don’t care, they don’t understand”, but in truth they know that if you start you will never stop, and they will have nothing to say because for them such things are abstract compared to the appalling weather we have been having lately. You can hope that one day they will come to you and say “tell me all about Timbuctu” and then you can expound, but in truth they just want to know where you were and whether you enjoyed it. You are safe returned, that is enough. To hear the rest would be unsettling. So here is an ode to the travel bore!
The Traveled Man
SOMETIMES I wish the railroads all were torn out,
The ships all sunk among the coral strands.
I am so very weary, yea, so worn out,
With tales of those who visit foreign lands.
When asked to dine, to meet these traveled people,
My soup seems brewed from cemetery bones.
The fish grows cold on some cathedral steeple,
I miss two courses while I stare at thrones.
I’m forced to leave my salad quite untasted,
Some musty, moldy temple to explore.
The ices, fruit and coffee all are wasted
While into realms of ancient art I soar.
I’d rather take my chance of life and reason,
If in a den of roaring lions hurled
Than for a single year, ay, for one season,
To dwell with folks who’d traveled round the world.
So patronizing are they, so oppressive,
With pity for the ones who stay at home,
So mighty is their knowledge, so aggressive,
I ofttimes wish they had not ceased to roam.
They loathe the new, they quite detest the present;
They revel in a pre-Columbian morn;
Just dare to say America is pleasant,
And die beneath the glances of their scorn.
They are increasing at a rate alarming,
Go where I will, the traveled man is there.
And now I think that rustic wholly charming
Who has not strayed beyond his meadows fair.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1896