Five Questions We Hate to Answer

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in General Travel | 3 Comments

We love to talk about our travels almost as much as we love traveling itself. That said, there are some questions about our trip that we routinely get and that we don’t ever need to hear again. Of course the askers mean well, and it probably sounds awfully bitchy to complain about someone’s genuine curiosity about our lives. I should also emphasize that any question is better than no question at all! But we thought it might help to shed some light on those things that long-term travelers don’t want to hear. So here goes:

5. “How was your vacation?” Okay. I know it sounds like a vacation, because we weren’t working and we were staying in hotels, but let me tell you: long-term travel ain’t a vacation. Vacation connotes a short(ish), well-planned, comfortable rest. When you’re sharing a roof with a rooster, wearing disgusting clothing that reeks of sweat and funk because you haven’t washed it in two weeks, and taking daily 5-hour non-air-conditioned bus rides in 90-degree weather, you are not on vacation. You are having an adventure. A Big Adventure. Also, when travel is your life, it sort of becomes your job. And like any other job, there are good days, bad days, and days you wonder why the heck you haven’t quit yet. Speaking of quitting…

4. “Did you really quit your jobs? During a recession?” Yes, of course it seems crazy. Yes, we do know how fortunate we were to even be able to think about making that decision. Yes, we both threw caution to the wind and did it. But since we can’t really change things at this juncture, there’s not much point in reminding us of our stupidity now. On a related note…

3. “Do you regret it?” This very direct question is pretty unusual, but when it comes, it typically comes from older people who haven’t traveled much. I think part of it is based on perplexity as to why anyone would ever want to travel for as long as we did (sounds exhausting!). The other part, I have to believe, is a secret hope that we will say “yes, we do have some regrets,” so that they will feel like they didn’t miss anything by not doing it themselves. Sorry folks: for the record, zero regrets here.

2. “How does it feel to be back?” Imagine you just spent almost a year traveling the world, visiting places you’d dreamed of seeing for as long as you could remember, having no responsibilities other than figuring out where you’d go next (and updating your blog, of course). Then this best year of your whole life ends. How would you feel? Yeah, that’s how it feels to be back.

1. “What was your favorite place?” This is not only an impossible question, but it is also far and away the most frequently-asked one, garnering it a special number one spot on this list. I totally get that it’s hard to know where to start with the inquiries, but please, start with anything – anything – but this. How does one compare Tanzania with the Netherlands? One has giraffes and lions roaming freely; the other has lots of bikes and yummy cheese. I liked the vineyards in France; I liked the beaches in Thailand. I liked the food in India; I also liked the food in Turkey, but it’s totally different. In short, I am completely unable to pick a favorite, because each place was so special in its own way. Even if you phrase the question as “where would you like to go back to?” I’m still stumped, because there are places I want to return because I didn’t get my fill the first time (India or Chile, for instance), and places I would like to revisit because I just found them to be relaxing and nice (e.g., northern Italy).

Now, if you ask “where are you going next?” I promise to be intrigued. That’s not an annoying question at all.


  1. Ed
    July 9, 2012

    Well, we knew it was a life experience. (Not necessarily the best year in your life, I promise you. Which is a good thing to think about.) But when you both finally returned, what were we all thinking? We were very glad to see you.

  2. Mom of Boys
    July 11, 2012

    I’m thrilled to hear you have no regrets. Such a worthless bit of emotion. And I’ll agree with Ed. A wonderful year, but not the best. Magical moments, but only a few in your life with many, many yet to come. So where are you going next? And which beer was the best? LOL

    • Pierre
      July 12, 2012

      I’ll chime in regarding the beer. If you go to the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzen, they have a very special brew that’s only available in their refrigerated tunnels below the bottling plants. It’s aged in open-top oak tubs, and it’s AMAZING!


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