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Help Eliminate Pretentious Travel Douchebag Syndrome

OMG, things are SOOOO much better in Paris!

You have probably met them.

They get back from a semester of study abroad or their 2-week vacation in Europe and all they can talk about is where they’ve just been.

Talking about it isn’t so bad, but they somehow manage to drop the fact that they’ve just been abroad into every single conversation.

..and it isn’t just the fact that they constantly mention it, but they also have to repeatedly mention how great it was.

You: This is a good hamburger.

Them: I guess. It isn’t as good as the hamburgers they have in Paris. Those are the best in the world!

You: *Roll your eyes*

They suffer from PTDS (Pretentious Travel Douchebag Syndrome). They just got back and they feel the need tell everyone they meet how much better things are “over there” and somehow bring every conversation around to talking about their recent trip.

For those who suffer from PTDS, it isn’t enough to travel somewhere and have a great time. To them, the experience isn’t complete unless they can rub your nose it in. Then, and only then, will the trip be complete.

This is something I constantly have to worry about. I am a PTDS hypochondriac. Unlike someone who just got back from week long vacation, traveling is all I’ve been doing for the last 6 years. For the better part of a decade, the only thing going on in my life has been travel. I’m pretty sure at several points in the last six years the person I’ve been talking to has found me suffering from PTDS.

Nonetheless, knowing there is a problem is the first step in avoiding it. If you have taken any extended trips or are considering doing so, here are some symptoms to look for to see if you have PTDS.

1) Are you mentioning the recent trip you took even though no one asked you about it?
If people aren’t interested enough to ask you how your trip was, then they certainly aren’t going to want to hear about it unsolicited from you. Last Christmas I was home for Christmas with my family. In the previous year I had been to 18 countries and all 7 continents. All of that travel got me a whopping one question from my entire family. I answered it and kept my mouth shut about it the rest of my time there.

2) Are you trying to one up people with your travel stories?
You are at a party and someone is telling you a story about their trip and you feel the need to them them your story. At a certain level this is fine. It is what travelers do when they drink. However, it is not a contest. Again, this is something I’m sure I’ve been guilty of, but it is also something I consciously try to avoid doing. Everyone’s experiences are amazing in their own context.

3) Are you mentioning how things always better somewhere else?
I went to college in Minnesota. We had a girl in my class who came from New York and couldn’t stop talking about how EVERYTHING was better in New York. The cookies were better in New York. The pizza was better in New York. The water was better in New York. New York is a great city and I love visiting there, but everything isn’t better there. Somethings are and some aren’t. I’ve seen the same thing happen with people who have lived overseas. Suddenly, everything is better “over there”. Having been to a lot of places, I know that most things are the same in most places. Products tend to reach a common level in most places. Saying something is better somewhere else is just end run around a subject so you can talk about your trip.

4) Are you constantly wearing clothing or other items you bought on your trip to show them to people?
Again, nothing wrong with buying stuff when you are on vacation, but you don’t have to be a walking display stand for everything you bought the day you get back. Save them for something special or at least give it a few weeks before you start wearing it. Also, for God’s sake, let people ask you about it. Note: Wearing t-shirts or hats with the name of the place you visited on it is not a symptom of PTDS. That is just plain old douchebaggery. No one pretentious would do that.

Ending PTDS begins with all of us. If you suffer from PTDS, please just shut the hell up. If you have a friend that suffers from it, feel free to tell them to shut the hell up.

If we act, we can end PTDS within our lifetime!

  • 11 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. James says:

    I certainly hope if I doing some of these things, friends will stop me.

  2. I think that’s why travellers are often very community orientated people. We know that the only people who will put up with our stories arw other travellers.

  3. Doryce says:

    I love to travel and also love everyone else’s travel tales. Would never say shut up because all travel stories are useful; telling me where and where I do not want to go.

  4. Jocy says:

    For instance, every time I start a sentence with “we were in Kazakhstan one summer,” a voice in my head says “shut up.”

  5. Jocy says:

    haha. My husband and I talk about this people quite often. I can understand how excited they are. We also are really self-conscious about sounding like these douchebags, and I bet we do on some occasions.

  6. HAHA I have two mates who do all of the above!
    One of them always starts off stories with
    “this one time in Prague…” and the other always says
    “when I was in Niue…”

  7. Suzanne says:

    Haha, this is so true. I know a lot of people who suffer from PTDS – I just hope I’m not one of them :/

  8. Stephen says:

    Ooph, I think I was probably so bad about this after my first big trip. I’m with you, I try to actively avoid talking about traveling when I’m back home because I don’t want to come off as That Guy!

  9. catena says:

    Wow….I’m a DB for wearing tshirts from my travels?
    Seems a bit severe…
    Not that you’re asking, but I buy a shirt because I like it and I wear it because it reminds me of where I’ve been and the fun I had.

  10. Lorenzo says:

    Haha. Awesome post!

  11. Slice says:

    Haha, I’m guilty and a bit paranoid of myself suffering from PTDS of the above kind, but I think there’s worse cases of it.

    One example is the assholes you run into on the road who reckon they only visit ‘off the path’ destinations, and everywhere else of interest is somehow void, you’ll know the type, they go around saying corny things like “I’m a traveller not a tourist” – when really, nobody cares.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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