A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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“Nobody Wants To Hear About Your Trip”

Recently a friend told me a story that struck a chord:

My father worked for an airline. I grew up in the days when employees and their families could fly free – or nearly free.

So my family did something no other family in my neighborhood could do. When we went on vacation, we flew. To Florida. The Caribbean. California. One year, we even went to Hawaii.

It sounds like it would have been a great perk for a kid, but for our family, it generated feelings approaching shame because it made us different. It made us stand out.

I remember once, I was about nine or ten, we planned to go to Disneyland in California. I was so excited about the trip, but my father forbid me to tell anyone where we were going.

‘Don’t say a word about it,’ he said. ‘People will think you are showing off.’

So we go on this trip, and it is great. Every kid’s dream. When we come home, I asked my mother if I could tell my friend Andy about Disneyland.

My mother looked at me and softly said, ‘Sweetie, nobody wants to hear about your trip.’”

This may sound strange coming from a person who has created a blog to document a trip, but I understand where the parents in the story are coming from. I’m not saying I agree – but I understand.

It’s one reason Dani and I have been very circumspect about discussing our trip. We both hear that voice inside our heads: “Nobody wants to hear about your trip.”

Around the first of the year, we knew the annual conversation about summer plans would begin. The time had come to start telling friends and neighbors what we were planning to do.

As we told people, the broad range of reactions surprised us. We were met with everything from enthusiastic support to dead silence and a change of subject.

Some reactions came out of left field. One friend asked: “But what are you going to do about orthodontia?”

(I’m not kidding. I never realized my kids’ teeth were such a concern.)

We remain reluctant to talk too much about our trip for several reasons.

First, plans and circumstances can change. There are still some things that could derail us, and I suppose we don’t want to jinx ourselves by talking about it too much.

But we are also sensitive to people’s interest. Most people don’t care, don’t find it interesting and would rather talk about anything else. We don’t want to become the bores at the party, droning on as we wade through yet another set of poorly composed vacation pictures.

So for now we keep this blog, where people interested in family travel can follow our story – and hopefully share some of theirs.

In other settings, we keep our plans to ourselves, ever mindful of my friend’s mother’s admonition.


1 Kevin { 02.14.08 at 1:56 am }

You’re right. When it comes down to it, most people may look at a couple pictures and listen to you for 35 seconds, but they don’t really care about your trip. The key is to travel for yourself and your family!

To my surprise, I discovered that even my immediate family didn’t really want to hear much about my travels. This is your trip, so go where you want, write for yourself, and make it your own trip. And of course once you do that, other like-minded travelers will be drawn to your journals. Have a great trip!

2 Martha { 02.14.08 at 8:13 am }

HI Dani and Craig –

The flip side of this can occur as well….when my niece and her husband returned from their 6 months in South America they made a little powerpoint (including their parachute jump!!!and their participation in a mountain rescue effort of several days to find a hiker lost in the snow!!) to show to the family. Their parents hosted a little “welcome back evening” for them, and family and friends showed up and then more showed up and then more…they ended up showing the powerpoint over and over and over. I think they were sick of it, but we (the family and friends) couldn’t get enough of their pictures and stories. We may not be travelers, but we can live the travelers life from our comfy sofa. Tell us all about it!

3 Lynn Cook { 02.14.08 at 8:21 am }

Dudes–this is as close as I’M ever gonna get to a trip around the world. Don’t deny me! Talk about it! Please! I know that friend of yours, and his experience was in a different time and place. People really want to hear about your trip. Honest!

4 Jill Hershberger { 02.15.08 at 1:46 am }

I think both sides can be true. I remember my dad telling me that after he and Mom and my brother Jim returned from India, after living there 6 years (toward the end of WWII), that a man he met on the train going home through the Midwest had only the barest interest in what to my Dad was the watershed experience of his life. Dad telling me this 50 years ago made an impression on me.
On the other hand, my grandpa would hold forth at the little country grocery store in Milford, Nebraska, brandishing the latest letter from Dad and plotting on the tacked-up map where in India my parents’ and Jim’s latest adventures were taking place. That is also a vivid image.
I discovered after my short visit to India for three weeks that suddenly other people’s travels (i.e. real travels, not simple vacations) took on profound interest for me because I understood in a new way how deep the experiences could penetrate.
Just recently I viewed the pictures my brother- and sister-in-law took in the Galapagos Island. The pictures of the animals were dazzling, but I realized that I could have seen similar pictures in National Geographic et al. But these were fabulous pictures taken by the people I knew and cared about, and I could feel them there and think of myself there as well.
I know that I will be deeply engaged in your trip.

5 victoria { 02.15.08 at 6:44 am }

Hi, we have three children aged 5,3 and1 and are really hoping that we will be able to do a RTW trip with our children in about three years time. In the meantime, I am reading anything I can get my hands on about travelling with children, both to live vicariously and also to help us think about planning our own trip. I love your site and shall be following it with interest.

6 Rick James { 02.16.08 at 11:30 am }

Craig, we have encountered almost complete support, interest and genuine enthusiasm so far. I really believe that your childhood experience was very real, but from a time that doesn’t exist as near as stringently as before. We certainly didn’t run around babbling about it at every opportunity. A few close friends rapidly told most of the rest of our town, and we were inundated with queries and well wishers. Part of that may come from the small town, very friendly atmosphere that we live in too though.

What we do have to guard ourselves (read: teach our kids) against while traveling is not blurting it out in front of mere vacationers that we meet up with. It took a couple of times for them to remember to quell their excitement, but they now wait until asked by the others about the scope of our trip before describing it.

While the blog and photo galleries were intended for friends and families, we have actually gained a wide readership, (as indicated by some comments and an abundance of private e-mails from shy folks). People we don’t know at my Mom’s large government office, friends of friends of friends, and my Dad’s store employees all enjoy living vicariously and being inspired. We have received many, many very positive comments and encouragement. Only a couple of close friends/relatives have showed disinterest or slight disdain, and so we avoided discussing it with them. Life is Great! People are so much more open and less negative these days too. Have fun, and let yer excitement and joy shine out!

I did appreciate your sharing info comments from the “kindness” post though. Maybe those dog eat dog people are more interested in themselves than in the world (and others in it) around them. The best advice there is “Feed ’em Fish Heads!” 🙂

7 Theresa { 02.16.08 at 2:53 pm }

I think, in many ways, you’re right. We were recently in Houston, where we went to school, and while the old friends we met up with were interested in our trip up to a point, they were just as interested, if not more, in talking about families and kids and jobs. That’s their life, and ours is, in a way, too foreign to them. It becomes a one-way monologue rather than a conversation. (Although I have to say for us the kids/family thing leaves us on the other end of a monologue.)

But, at the same time, there are tons of people who are interested in hearing about these types of trips–people who have done similar trips themselves, people who aspire to similar trips, and armchair travelers. Which is why I think blogs are so awesome. Those who are interested can read and comment. Those who aren’t can simply chose not to visit the site.

8 Andrea { 02.26.08 at 12:11 am }

Can I relate to this! we are moving to Shanghai this summer for a couple of years – and I am feeling that same voice – nobody cares about your trip! I just came across your blog, while searching for some reason to get or not get the JE-VAX – some SIGN – and I will have to go back through the old posts!

9 Jeanne { 02.26.08 at 5:26 pm }

The title got my attention! When we started our RTW family trip almost 19 months ago, I did not think many would be interested in our trip, but I soon found out I was seriously wrong. I have been stunned by how many people have been interested in our travels and have not missed a word that I written. I am still surprised. I think you will continue to find that there will be plenty of people who will be very interested in your travels and your perspective. Some will be from home and some will be new friends. We have met so many wonderful people through our blog and you will too. Happy travels!

10 Megan { 03.02.08 at 6:43 pm }

I’ve done so much traveling at this point that almost every conversation seems to come back to travel for me. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue to not tell a crazy story about some monkeys or something.

No one I know in real life wants to see my photos. I take a photo of myself doing a cartwheel in most places and put them in an album. I can usually get most people to look at that album.

The nice thing about the internet is there’s a lot of people who do care about your trip and don’t think you’re bragging. That’s why i’s great to have a blog… if your family and friends want to hear about it they can go to your blog or they can ignore it. My best friends don’t read my blog but I have a following of strangers that comment all the time. I think that some people care about your trip, just not the ones you run into everyday.

11 World Travellers - Part VI » TravelBlog Archive » Pilgrims’ Progress { 05.08.08 at 3:32 am }

[…] who have little panic attacks in the middle of the night too! Others who are a wee bit scared to talk about their trip! Others who have hit the 196 Days To Go mark (actually, we’ve hit that one too. In fact, our […]

12 Kevin { 11.10.08 at 2:25 am }

I hear ya. We ( my wife and 2 teenage boys) are on our around the world trip and are 3 months into it and following your site. We elected to not do a newspaper story prior to leaving , just to do our blog and let others follow if they want. Its amazing to read the comments people have sent us . In the end its your (our) trip and we are doing it for ourselves to see this glourious world.
Keep writting and who knows perhaps we will cross paths.
We are currently in Cambodia.



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