THE STUDENT LIFE

Frequent Flyer Assholes

Braggers. Boasters. Show offs. Angela Bishop trying to sound casual about interviewing Brad Pitt.

Braggers. Boasters. Show offs. Angela Bishop trying to sound casual about interviewing Brad Pitt.

We all know someone who fits this mould – people who just love to one-up your story with a bigger, better, more glamorous tale of their own. A topic that attracts these types like a mosquito to a mid-summer pool tarp is TRAVELLING.

Ah, international travel: fancy people love to write about it. Ladies who lunch love to gossip about it. Under 30’s love to boast about it on every social media platform possible and over 30’s love to frame pictures about it.

Some of the worst offenders are singers:

  • Charlene, who always sounded like a bit of a slut: “I’ve been to Nice and Isle of Greece while I sipped champagne on a yacht. I’ve moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed ‘em what I got.”
  • Corrine Bailey Rae, who clearly needs some lessons in geography and time zones: “Oooh ooh, you’ve taken me up so high, Paris nights and New York mornings.” 
  • Lucky Starr, who everyone wishes was never born and could probably do with his throat ripped out: “I’ve been everywhere man. I’ve been everywhere man…” 

Ok, guys, we get it. You have travelled the world so many times over that if you were trailing a piece of string the planet would look like a gussied-up Christmas ham.

It doesn’t matter if you are a singer, a dancer or a candlestick maker; people who incessantly boast about their travels are generally considered a pain in the arse. In the true spirit of the inherently Australian ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, the average punter would far prefer to hear about someone’s long weekend escape in the Kalgoorlie caravan park than their two month escapade in the south of France. Australians just don’t want to hear about what goes on offshore.

This grim realisation came to the fore early last week, whilst walking down Chapel Street with my flatmate and her friend. He was chatting away on the topic of claustrophobia. Oh, I thought. Oh. I have a great story about claustrophobia. See, there was this one time in Florence when I was climbing the inside of the Duomo and – oh, fuck.

It hit me.

I was becoming one of those people. A bragger. A boaster. A show off. An Angela Bishop. Somebody who can’t walk five meters down the road without proclaiming that something reminded me of NEW YORK or that person looks exactly like my friend from GREECE and ohhh that half-eaten donut in the bin looks just like that half-eaten donut in a bin that I saw in MOROCCO!

I was becoming one of those people: an A-Grade, Frequent Flyer Fuckwit.

You will encounter FFF’s in both I.R.L. and URL realms; they’re hard to miss. Whether it’s a status update that says too much, or a picture that says a thousand words too many more; FFF’s want you to know where they are. And it sure ain’t Kalgoorlie Caravan Park. From here, they will jump on a jet (complete with eye-rolling status updates: “OMG! Upgraded to first class!” or “Missed flight – another night in Barcelona – yay!”) and touch down on Aussie soil. And thus, the infection begins…no topic of conversation is safe from them dropping the bomb of “This one time overseas…” And, to avoid feeling like Erica Yurken in Hating Alison Ashley, you must simply smile and nod knowingly. Because of course you agree it’s crazy how much expensive cocaine is in Australia, and how much milder the sun is in Europe, and how no one really likes the taste of Club Mate…right?

So: how to avoid this?

I won’t deny that I have been blessed with international travel.

My favourite memories are built upon wildly varying locations: sure, the standard Aussie beach trips to the Gold Coast, but among that also family holidays in Japan, European summers with my sister in Greece and Croatia, wild nights partying with friends in Berlin. I travelled alone, grew up, and learnt a lot about myself. I realised the world is a lot bigger than anything home can offer, and that can be both wonderful and absolutely fucking terrifying.

And even now, recounting but a few of my memories, I can hear myself sounding like an irritating asshole. Like, if I was actually in conversation with myself at this point, I would probably be giving myself the face that Tyra Banks gives contestants when they cry because they’re voted out on America’s Next Top Model. The fart face.

So – am I spoilt?

Hardly. I am as down to earth as they come. I have simply been encouraged since a young age to travel; travel opens minds, extends horizons, creates adventures, teaches lessons….ok, yeah. I still sound like an asshole. Can’t dig up.

So what does one do? Pretend one hasn’t travelled? (Speak like one is Queen Elizabeth?) Keep our internationally spawned tales a dirty secret that we can only talk about in hushed downs in dirty underground dive bars? Is there such a thing as interesting traveller tale, unmarred by jealousy or intolerance?

Oh, and don’t even get me started on what happens when one Frequent Flyer Fuckwit is challenged in conversation by another FFF. It’s war. It’s like watching Carmen Sandiego on bath salts trying to eat the face off a competitor with her overseas travel stories. If you ever encounter this situation…just walk away slowly. Say you’ve never left the suburb you grew up in.

I suppose when we get older, and our lives shrivel down into something smaller and sadder than the current pulse of youth; we might actually welcome Frequent Flyer Fuckwits. They can regale us with slutty stories from the old days when they were travelling the world. And as for now? Well, it’s a great way to tell if someone is a nice person. If they are kind, patient and polite enough to let you get all the way to the end of your story about having a claustrophobic panic attack halfway up the inside of the Duomo in Florence, you know they gotta be alright.

And if you’re the one telling the story…

Just shut up, ok?

Frequent Flyer Assholes
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