Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why are vacation stories boring?

Yesterday, amidst driving 15+ hours back from South Bend, I had a chance to reflect on a lot of things, including:

* Our friends & family are very generous in their hospitality
* Why are my kids better travelers than I am?
* Why does Pennsylvania take so long to cross?
* Huh, I thought we had four bicycles piled on the too-small bicycle rack.

This got me thinking about what I would post on the blog about the family trip (3,300 miles, visits to 4 Midwestern states, maybe a dozen McDonald's snack wraps), and I decided "not much."

We had a lot of fun, but in I hestitate to write a lot about because I think most travel narratives are, well, boring. I'm not sure why, but usually (not always) when I hear stories of people's travels, I just don't engage them. I'm not saying that I hide from them for a week or two after they get back, just that listening to travels is usually not that interesting. (Maybe not as bad, though, as listening to people describe their dreams).

Is this just me? If not, why are travel stories boring?


Knumb said...

I dunno,

the highlight reels from vacations are usually pretty good.

What you are describing, maybe it's 'cuz peeps feel the need to go from A-Z on their vacation tales.

S.S.Stone said...

I agree with you unless something really MAJOR happens on a trip. Like the time you went to LA and there was a "bomb" threat....or when you go on a holiday and solo hang glide and get it video taped which allows us to watch.

P.S.: want to hear what I dreamt about last night?" *smile*

Ben said...

I have a feeling you would tell vacation stories a whole lot better than most. Let's hear the highlights.

Ben Dubow said...

lol... I agree... but yes, "dream stories" are almost always worse!!!!

Brad Wright said...

I think that you're right, John, that people launch into their stories in chronological order--from start to finish.

I think you're right Sarah & Ben, that maybe telling a few stories would be enough, and not trying to fully summarize all events.

Brad Wright said...

I had better pass on hearing your dreams, Sarah. Either they won't be interesting, and I don't want to hear them, or they might be very interesting, at which point I probably shouldn't hear them. ;-)

S.S.Stone said...

well they're all about bathroom renovations these days, so yes, pretty boring ;)

Peter Thurley said...

I think one of the reasons why travel stories are so boring is that they depend upon subjective experience. This is especially true when coming back from a missions trip. I think of my younger sister who just returned to Canada after working with sex workers in Thailand, having a new perspective on the world, on Christianity and on the North American lifestyle. Suddenly she finds that her friends don't share her joy in seeing girls released from prostitution, they get tired of hearing her say "In Thailand..."

This kind of situation (repeated many times, in my experience) leads me to believe that travel really is one of those "you had to be there" moments. In particular, when the Christian has a God-moment while away on missions, that God-moment wasn't necessarily meant for others, and thus they cannot comprehend the fullness of that experience.

Personally, I have a major travel bug. I often find that hearing someone else's travel experiences only reminds me that I wasn't the one traveling, and that makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Brad -- boring? May it never be . . . visiting with in-laws, rekindling old friendships(well,we enjoyed it) traveling the country in style. Besides, how often do you get to engage in conversation with a lawyer without being charged?


Left wondering in Wisconsin

Brad Wright said...

Dear Anon-frank-omous,

Certainly the free legal advice was priceless, and we did have a lot of fun, especially visiting friends in Madison!

It's just hard to convey everything in a simple blog post.

Brad Wright said...

Peter, it sounds like you and your sister do some heavy duty,cool traveling. I'm envious.