The danger signs are clear: any hint of tie dye, more than the odd fetish or fertility figure on their mantelpiece, 'ethnic' textiles on walls and floors, and a marked tendency to frame globe-trotting photos in the entrance hall.
'Mind the Gap' should be an admonition to those returning from their gap year travels, armed with hilarious dysentery anecdotes and dramatic border-smuggling stories. Nowadays, we are all Raleighs, Marco Polos and Thesigers, no longer content to be mere tourists but vying with each other to have the most exotic, most dangerous, most bonding experience. The trouble is that, when traded indiscriminately, the currency of travel stories can become devalued, even worthless.
If you are brimming with travel anecdotes, mind that what you say is not just a rehash of what others have said before you; work out the attention span of your listeners; be aware that your audience may not be as wide-eyed and hungry for new experiences as you think they should be.
Sometimes, travel bores are guilty of plain bad manners - like waxing lyrical about their eight months chilling-out in Asia to someone who has been working 60-hour weeks for the last two years; or banging on about the joys of hiking in the Rockies to someone with a wooden leg.
Worse still, never overplay the lasting effect of your travels. No matter how many life-changing experiences we might have on our travels - and then want to talk about when we get back - we will not change the core of ourselves just because we have travelled. So settle back and enjoy your travels but don't expect that those who weren't there with you will want to share your journey . . .
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- If you are brimming with tales of your globe-trotting exploits, work out the attention span of your listeners and watch out for glazed eyes and slack jaws.
- Be diplomatic; some people who are feeling trapped by their family, job, finances, health, will not want to hear endless stories of exotic adventures.
- Don' be competitive about your travel credentials. Travelling is a mind-expanding experience, don't turn it into a mere contest.