As previously mentioned, interacting with other tourists on an organised tour is the pits. To be fair, every now and then we do come across a real gem of a fellow traveller – a kindred spirit who shares our sense of humour and outlook on life. Usually Aussies. But for the most part they are insufferable.
The more exotic the destination the more complex the tourist. Being on safari in Africa was the worst for this. The nightmare begins with introductions. If you can answer the question “Where are you from?” in a few words you’re doing it wrong. My own response “I live in London but I’m Australian and my husband is German” is borderline acceptable. Ideally you’ll be Japanese, raised in France and now living in Mozambique. Speaking fewer than three languages is sloppy.
Conversation around the communal dining table inevitably involves hair-raising tales of travel to far flung destinations. If you’ve been scammed or gotten lost you can reap the rewards here. Nobody will even look up from their plates unless you come out with something like “After I was captured by the insurgents…” or “I had to lie low until the fatwa was lifted.”
It’s easy to feel inferior, as if you’ve wasted your life working, studying, raising children or whatever other humdrum activities have comprised your unadventurous existence. Arming yourself with a fictitious swashbuckling history or paying top dollar for a solitary experience are the only viable options.