The green eyed monster doesn’t only rear its ugly head in relationships. Since I got back from my round the world trip in 2014 (almost two years ago, FUCK), I’ve met a lot of people who have travelled as well, many of whom did a similar route to myself, and many who have seen and done far more than me.
And it pisses me right off.
I know, I know. It’s not an admirable quality to be quietly seething every time I find out someone has been backpacking in India (dream destination, argh!), but I can’t help it, and it seems this feeling is present in many backpackers once they return home. Once awoken, that damned wanderlust beast just won’t go back to sleep.
If you’ve had a conversation with a backpacker, you’ll know the checklist of questions you go through when you meet someone new.
“Where are you from?”
“Where are you going?”
“Where have you been?”
“How long have you been travelling?”
Some variation on these four questions will crop up every time you meet a new person. How much of this is genuine interest, though, and how much is travel dick-measuring? People like to one-up each other; it’s natural. Everyone likes to feel like the smartest, most interesting and well-cultured person in the room. When everybody wants their voice to be the only one that’s heard, however, all that happens is people stop listening.
Next time you find yourself listening to someone eagerly recount their adventures, don’t spend the whole time they’re speaking planning your own next monologue. Listen to them, ask questions, and show interest. Make them feel validated.
Make them feel like the most interesting person in the room.