In case you get the wrong idea about what I'm trying to say in this post, check this out.
If I hear it one more time, I'm going to puke. The Conversation.
Nearly every long-term traveler anticipates it and many start to really despise it. It is the same bloody conversation that you have with anyone new you encounter on your journey.
For some travelers like me and William, we meet all new people every five days or so. And every five days, we have the Conversation 20 times in a day.
"Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going?" Ahhhhgh! NO! Don't ask me again!!! NOOOO!!!
You can bet money on it and fund your way around the world. Your sitting there in your hostel bed and two backpackers come into the room. You make eye contact and give a fake smile and a subtle nod of the head.
From here, it's over. I can already see the slow-motion play of one of the backpacker's mouth rounding to making the "wh" sound.
Me: "-Am I from? The States."
Guy: "Oh, where abouts?"
Guy: "Ah, Kentucky Fried Chicken!"
Me: [shutters offering a fake smile] "Indeed."
[Awkward silence as I refuse to entertain the same question.]
Guy: "So, have you been traveling for a while?"
Me: "-Have I been?" [And as if they were one big long word...] "GuatemalaArgentinaChileNewZealandAustralia."
Guy: "Cool. How long are you traveling for?"
Me: "A year."
Guy: "Where are you going next?"
Guy: "What's after Thailand?"
Me: [Sighs silently. Thinks, "Seriously!? Grrrr..."] "More places in South East Asia, some places in Europe, then Iceland and then New York."
Me: "Yep. Pretty excited about it..."
If the conversation continues, I usually succumb to the pressure and ask the same blasted "Where you from/been/going" questions.
Now don't get me wrong, I still love meeting new people and 3 WQ's are pretty important to making new friends, but if you KNOW you're never going to see this person again in just a few hours, just drop the whole thing. If you feel awkward, default to some different questions like, "What makes you happy?" or "What is your purpose in life?"
If someone were to start off with those questions, I'd love them instantly.
Funny story about the picture for this blog. I finished writing this blog (while sitting in a hostel kitchen) and looked around for someone to pose in the photo with me. I saw a guy who was writing in a journal or something. Perfect.
I went up to him and said, "I was wondering if you could help me with something. I just wrote a blog about... [and explained the blog] ...and I was wondering if you could pose in a photo with me as you start to talk".
He said sure and we took the pic. Immediately afterwards he said, "So where..." He stopped and chuckled, "I guess I'm going to ask that question - where you from?"
We had the Conversation.
He's from Canada. He's been staying in Australia. He going to go visit some friends in New Zealand and then come back to Australia again to work.
And after all that - I never got his name. The Conversation hardly ever includes, "What's your name?" But I did give him this website address, so thanks for the help with the pic, guy from Canada! ;)