Typical Traveler? Laugh At Yourself

A friend turned me on to the book Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander just before Christmas. Not only did I have to buy the book for my brother, reading snippets of it as I was trying to get it wrapped and under the tree, but I forced him to let me read bits out loud for the whole family to enjoy Christmas morning.

Funny, he hasn’t officially let me borrow it yet…

There are lot of extremely true and funny entries, but those that really hit home for me were those associated with being a typical traveler. My guess is that some die-hard travelers are offended by these entries, probably trying to convince themselves that they are not like the people described or, if they do seem to share some resemblance, that there is a really good reason for their behavior that sets them apart from those typical travelers described.

I  personally found the travel entires hilarious because they couldn’t be more true– for me or for my fellow travelers, who I’ve seen commit the same atrocities. I think there are just certain truths about being a  world traveler, especially one who began his/her world travels via a study abroad experience, that cannot be denied. There are feelings of being more ‘worldly’ than American companions who’ve never been brave enough to set foot outside the States as well as a belief that everything is just that more clear to you after the things you’ve seen and experienced, which no one else could ever understand. I myself am guilty of these thoughts, but that’s where the humor lies. Of course my travels helped me climb out of my comfort box and of course I had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but I’m not the first person to ride a camel in Egypt or the first person to climb to the limits of the Great Wall of China. I am just one of many.

I try not to bring up my travels every chance I get because I don’t want to come off as the morally superior world traveler that people don’t want to mention country names to in fear that they will then be subjected to an hour-long monologue on that person’s experience abroad. If someone is interested in photos or stories I’m more than happy to oblige– I am really excited about the experiences I have had, and I love to talk about them, but mainly when I’m approached to do so.  My bigger issue is trying to tone down talking about upcoming trips, especially those I’m in the midst of planning. I try to limit those discussions to my boyfriend and parents unless otherwise provoked because I can certainly get caught up in those conversations for hours at a time.

I think these things are true of many travelers, which is why my favorite entries are so humorous. Check out some of my favorites on the ‘Stuff White People Like’ blog:

#19 Traveling

#71 Being the Only White Person Around

#72 Study Abroad

#91 San Francisco

I’m glad I was able to laugh at these, although some did make me pause momentarily.

Now to resolve my Christmas present with a more recent entry: #115 Promising to Learn a New Language

Christmas Gift: Rosetta Stone Deutsch

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