Please go away.
For those of you who don’t know me well I like comfort but am quite happy to step out of it – it’s a challenge. Love people with all their quirks and eccentricities. Am a social worker by trade for over 18 year olds and specialise in older people. When I used to tell people what I did for a living without clarification they would revert to a stereotype and proclaim in a shocked tone “you take children away from their parents” and then leave. Hence the explanation – but for those who are reading this and are having the same reaction. I have many friends who work with children and families and they are good people often demonized by the press and public. I also empathise well, am a good listener and like to think that I’m patient and tolerant.
On my travels I have met many wonderful and interesting people and I’m sure they will be mentioned in this blog sooner or later. I have also met some strange people who at all costs should be avoided. One of my friends, who I met in Peru, has made up a traveller classification code. There is the superior traveller who likes to get off the beaten track and experience ‘authentic’ stuff, thinks travel books are a waste of time and has always had a better time than the person they are talking to. Then there is the nervous traveller who treats travel books like the bible, follows it to the letter and is afraid to go out on a limb. Finally there is the happy traveller who goes with the flow, enjoys the experience, is willing to try out new things and is good company. Luckily for me I was crowned a happy traveller.
I would like to expand on this theory to include a few more categories. For example, there is the desperate traveller. Self absorbed, thick-skinned and lonely because all they talk about is themselves. I met such a Frenchman in Peru who had come over to meet his internet Peruvian girlfriend. It didn’t work out, he found another to replace her and he did not have a clue what she was doing or where she was. She was in incommunicado. He seemed to be forking out a fortune in rent, girlfriend maintenance etc etc. I learned about his love life, friends, past, illnesses, current situation, work and so on. He, on the other hand, knew nothing about me as he didn’t bother to ask. Until the second day that is, when he asked my name. My partner and I could not get rid of him. He lurked in the lobby until we came down and accompanied us to breakfast, on walks and visits out. When we hide in our room he knocked on the door. He ignored all hints that we had things to do and continued to talk at us. Finally, in desperation we moved out to the beach. Unfortunately, he spotted us leaving, shared a taxi to our hotel and proceeded to tag along all day. Being English and having polite stamped into my brain I said nothing, smiled, nodded, empathized and listened and seethed from within. At the end of the day the only way to get rid of him was to go to bed. But before leaving he informed us he would come back in stay in the same hotel. I was not a happy traveller, more like a seriously pissed off traveller with the potential to turn into a dangerous traveller if I heard one more story about his absentee love life. We checked out the next day and spent the next 3 days avoiding him. So there are three new three new traveller categories already and a new quality to add to my list of attributes – coward. Therefore, in future when someone invades my space to extent that my status changes to unhappy traveller I will tell them to go away – politely of course.