How To: Judge People Based on Their Travels

Just gonna be upfront about this: I am a horribly judgmental person. Over the past couple months, between going on a ridiculous number of dates (boo) and starting a new job (yay), I’ve been meeting lots of people, and one of the first topics of conversations I always bring up is, of course, travel. So how should you (read: how do I) judge people based on their travels?

Warning signs:

If they only mention organized tours, all-inclusive resorts, and cruises 

I love a few days lounging on the beach with dudes in red shorts bringing me endless watered-down pina coladas as much as the next girl, but if this is the only kind of travel the person you’re talking with does, he probably doesn’t have much of an adventurous spirit or much tolerance for the occasional struggles of travel. That said, if you also value convenience over excitement, by all means, keep hanging out with that guy. Keeps him off the streets and away from the rest of us.

If they talk incessantly about adventure sports 

Hardcore adrenaline junkies are, in my experience, usually looking for a partner in life-threatening, terrifying, idiotic pursuits. If you don’t want to be dangling off cliffs or leaping from planes with them at least once a year for the foreseeable future, think twice about getting involved with such a person. If this isn’t a dating-type situation, you may merely be in for some crazy stories and/or invitations to look at stomach-churning injuries, so that’s probably fine.

If they humblebrag about their solo trip down the Mekong in a canoe they made themselves

They are insufferable bores, or will never want to do anything as simple and straightforward as a quick weekend trip to San Francisco, or are disgusting liars. Or all of the above. You don’t want to hang out with any of those people. Note: I come very close to this kind of crap sometimes, more around the quantity and cheapness of my travel than about how off-the-beaten-path-y I am. I apologize for being both a bore and a hypocrite. Now keep reading.

Bonus Points:

If you have the same favorite destination / activity / little cafe in the East Village

Obviously you are soul mates, whether this is a romantic situation or not. You will reconfirm each other’s awesomeness in a positive feedback loop of, “And the croissants!” “I know!” “The view from the second floor!” “Amazing!” This is unbearable for everyone around you, but too bad for them. Bask in the glow, at least until the end of this portion of the conversation, at which point you’ll awkwardly recross your legs and take a drink and then say, “So, where did you go to college?”

If they’ve got another trip or two on the horizon, either in reality or in daydreams

I’m always planning the next trip (hey Argentina, see ya next spring?), and I can have countless conversations with friends and family about researching and strategizing trips. If someone else is also thinking ahead and plotting for next time, I figure we’ll get along pretty well.

If they provide a good reason for why a particular destination was their favorite

The best part about sharing travel stories is that it’s a unique insight about a person–not just what they like, but why they like it, which points to their overall personality and values. Somebody tells me he visited the Galapagos to celebrate the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, and I understand that he is a dedicated nerd. Another person says her favorite trip was to Ireland to learn about the life her grandparents left behind, and I know she’s got strong family ties. It’s a little peek into their lives that you might otherwise have to ask invasive personal questions to get at.


3 thoughts on “How To: Judge People Based on Their Travels

  1. haha I love this post. especially the last one, about if they provide a good reason why they love a certain place. you’re spot on, awesome!

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