One of my closest friends is off to Africa for a year, so, as a self-styled ‘travelling expert’, I thought I’d give her some advice.
Then I realised that it was highly possible that other people were also going abroad, so I decided to share this advice with everyone else. I have to be quick, however, because I’m making some eggs, and I’m not entirely sure how long one needs to leave them boiling for soft-boiled.
Here, therefore, are some potted words of wisdom:
1. Travelling is great because you get to meet new people. Some people are scared about this. This is foolish in the extreme. New people haven’t yet heard a single one of your over-used examples or oft-repeated anecdotes. The people you ought to be scared of are the ones you already know- they’re dying for you to give them some new material. New people have such low expectations of you it is impossible to disappoint. Revel in this.
2. Sometimes when you travel, you are offered food which is disgusting. In order not to cause offence, it is best to pretend to have an imaginary allergy. I have noticed this tactic is also being used by my friends in London, who seem to have an inexhaustible list of ‘intolerances’. Luckily, as the type of host who cooks exclusively for my own pleasure, I pay them no mind, and continue to serve popcorn for dinner.
3. No bed on earth is as comfortable as your own bed. Accept this, but do continue to ‘test’ as many people’s beds as possible while away, just for, you know, science.
4. Not every new person you meet will be interesting. Actually, not many of them will be. Or, really, hardly any. In fact, don’t listen to new people. It will only lead to disappointment. Use the time instead to gauge their reactions to your own stories. This will be very useful when you return home.
5. The very best part about travelling is returning home. No-one likes a guest who overstays their welcome. Sue, I’m talking to you.
It’s too late. These eggs are hard-boiled, and my toast soldiers are deeply disappointed.