One of the travel blogs I follow is Everything Everywhere. Over the weekend, the blog author, Gary, posted a real winner: Help Prevent Travel Douchebag Syndrome.
Please click over and read it for yourself, but know that the moral of the story is that as travelers, we like to talk about our travel. PTDS (because constantly writing douchebag is exhausting) is when travelers talk constantly about where they've been and how it's better wherever they were.
There is a limited window where people want to hear about your travels.
It's about one week.
And it goes like this:
Friend: How was your vacation?
You: Great! I loved _________ (verb ending in -ing) ________ (place you went).
Friend: Glad to hear that. Welcome back.
And that's about it.
If your friend has been to _________ (place you went) then they might want to share a few more stories about your favorite ________ (place you ate) and the amazingness of the __________ (famous site you saw).
If your friend has not been to _________ (place you went), but is planning to go there soon, they may ask you for a couple travel tips.
Last spring, I went to a bridal shower the weekend after I returned from Greece and Turkey. Most of my friends knew I had been on vacation, even if they didn't know where I went or what I was doing. I had a limited opportunity to talk about my trip without it sounding like PTDS. The week you get back is that window of opportunity. Talking about your vacation is fair game when people ask how you're doing or where you've been the past week The best phrase I was able to use was "Last weekend in Istanbul....".
I only had one week to use that phrase. Had to make it count. A friend was wearing a scarf around her neck. Somehow in the course of my last weekend in Istanbul conversation, I talked about how a shopkeeper made fun of how I was wearing my scarf and showed me how to tie it. Ever since then, if I've worn a scarf that way, I call it the Istanbul style. Of course, she asked me to tie her scarf that way.
The bride to be gets the gift of a scarf. From across the room, one of the other guests looks at my friend and says "oooh, I love how you tied your scarf" and she in turn says "Jenni learned how to do this last weekend when she was in Istanbul." And now the bride to be also has her scarf tied in the Istanbul style.
And that's it. For the most part, you enjoy the memories of your trip by yourself or with your travel companions. You post a picture in your office. Wear a piece of jewelry that you brought back.
You don't say out loud: the dates are better in Israel, the baklava is better in Greece, or the Irish Coffee is better when served table side at a little Italian restaurant in southern Mexico. You just hold that inside. The truth of travel is your little secret.