Here’s Why People Couldn’t Care Less about your Travels!
You know the drill when you go on vacation. Capture the most Instagram-worthy moments, text pictures of sunsets and tropical drinks to your friends, post pics of your meals on Facebook, and Facetime your family while you’re on the beach, right? Well you might want to brace yourself because I have an uncomfortable truth for you. Nobody cares about your travels.
Not your friends, not your family, not a stranger on the street. Don’t take it personally. It’s not just you. It’s true for everyone. I hear you through the screen right now: Not my friends—they like all my posts while I’m on vacation and love my travel pictures. But trust us. Even your friends, and you don’t care about their travel either.
Today we’re going to talk about why this is the case.
- You Had to Be There
- Green with Envy
- Can’t Relate
- The Science
- Shared Experiences
If you are one of those Aluxers who prefers watching visuals over dull text, we have got it all covered for you, here’s the full article in a form of a video:
With that checked out, let’s go back to reading the reasons why people cannot gain a lot from others’ travel stories:
When you go away on a vacation and have an incredible time, one of the first things you want to do is tell your friends and family all about it. Now in the age of social media, we’re sharing our travel experiences in real time. The excitement of sharing a pic of a gorgeous sunset, the Eiffel Tower, a pristine beach, or any other vacation setting is part of the fun of getting away.
And you may get a ton of likes and comments on your posts, but the harsh reality is these people don’t care, not really. Oh they’ll ask you how your trip was and will nod and smile in response, but they’re not emotionally invested. And if you’re honest about yourself, you’ll realize that you aren’t terribly interested in your friends going on and on about their latest trip either.
There are several reasons for this, and even some scientific studies that back up this claim, so let’s take a look at those now.
You Had to Be There
No matter how good a storyteller you are, it’s impossible to recreate your travel experiences for your friends who weren’t there with you. Say you spotted a sloth in South America, you went skiing in the Swiss Alps, you shared a pint of Guinness with the locals in Dublin, or you spent an afternoon on the gondolas in Venice.
These are incredible experiences that you won’t be able to put into words. Unless others have done what you have done, they won’t be able to connect with your experiences in any meaningful way. That’s why so often when a person tells a story about their travels, it ends with the words “you had to be there.
” If they weren’t there, they can’t possibly know what that moment felt like and won’t have the same attachment to that memory as you do. This is not something you can fabricate, and while you are trying to get them to understand what you experienced, another thought is probably entering their minds.
Green with Envy
Jealousy is a strong emotion, and it’s hard to control. Have you ever heard your friend talking about an exotic vacation or even just a quick trip to the beach and on the outside you smile and nod but on the inside all you’re thinking is I wish that could’ve been me?
Face it, when you’re coming off a hard work week full of long hours and stressful situations, the last thing you want to hear about is how much fun your friend had sipping mai tais in a tropical paradise. People will show their jealousy in multiple ways like passive aggressive comments, eye rolls, sarcasm, talking behind your back, or just scrolling past your pics on social media without hitting the ‘like’ button.
Of course your really good friends will do their best to hide it, but the inevitable envy is just beneath the surface. So whenever it’s your turn to take that tropical vacation, just know your friends who are in the middle of a full work week really aren’t going to want to hear about it, but there’s more to it than just simple jealousy.
Travel can be a life-changing experience. As you explore different communities and cultures, your worldview inevitably changes. This is particularly true if you visit another country with a significantly different lifestyle and standard of living. When you go back home, you will see things differently.
You might appreciate your culture more or become more critical. The scones aren’t as good as the ones you had in Paris, the water isn’t as clear at the beach as it was in the Mediterranean, the people aren’t as friendly as they were in Sydney, for example.
Or maybe after returning from a developing country, you see people taking certain things like hot showers and clean water for granted, but you can’t quite get your point across about it. You see things in a new way, but those who weren’t with you won’t. When you try to explain your new perspective from your travels, people won’t relate, and they won’t care nearly as much as you do.
For those who don’t have those world experiences, the scone tastes just fine and there’s nothing wrong with complaining when it takes 30 seconds for the shower to heat up. You can’t force people to see things from your perspective, so you might as well put your energy elsewhere.
The idea that nobody cares about your travel experiences is more than an opinion—it’s actually backed by science. Harvard scientists have found that those who have extraordinary experiences on their own are not able to accurately recreate these experiences through words with others later.
Even though you may try to convey exactly what was extraordinary about the experience, your words can never capture the full context of what happened, and people won’t be able to identify. They would much rather talk about an experience that you both have in common.
These findings can apply to travel as well since so much of what you engage in as a tourist can be classified as an extraordinary experience when you are escaping your normal life. Even if you show a person a picture that you took during an exciting time you had on your vacation, it doesn’t allow them to understand the full context of the moment. What was the weather like?
What led up that moment? What did the surroundings sound like? What were your exact emotions? How did it change you? These are just a few questions that would need to be answered to begin to grasp the experience in an accurate way, and 99 percent of the time, people won’t care enough to ask these kinds of questions.
Another scientific fact is that attention spans have dropped significantly in the past couple decades. Microsoft Corporation conducted a study in 2015 that found that the average attention span in the new digital age is just eight seconds. This is one second shorter than the attention span of the average goldfish.
Scientists have also found that minds tend to wander fifty percent of the time. With these obstacles to capture sustained attention, how long do you think your friends and family are going to focus on the story of a local you went surfboarding with in the Bahamas, for example? Unless they were there with you and know exactly what you’re talking about, the chances are not long.
So does this mean you shouldn’t talk about your travel experiences with anyone? Well, not exactly, but you should be aware of how these stories will be received. Don’t waste too much time trying to get people to understand every incredible thing you experienced, and definitely don’t expect people to share the same excitement you have when it comes to your travels.
Science has found that humans build bonds through shared experiences, so if you really want your friends to care about your travels, you should travel together when possible. That way, conversations about the trip will have significant meaning for everyone involved.
If your friends don’t like to travel, look for another outlet to discuss your experiences like a blog for like-minded travelers or a Facebook group for the city you enjoy visiting the most.When both parties have a shared passion and similar experiences, that’s when meaningful conversations about travel can happen.
Some experiences are amazing to have, while other experiences are amazing to talk about. The difference is found in the context. If the people you are sharing with don’t have a frame of reference and don’t understand the context of your experiences because they have never been in a similar situation, don’t expect them to care very much.
Learn to appreciate what you learn from your travels and how those experiences have changed you without feeling the need to make others understand when they don’t really have a desire to.
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Now that we’re wrapping up this story, we’d like to know: Do you prefer to travel with friends, family, or alone? Let us know in the comments.