Years ago, I was walking around a hospital in my home town for whatever reason.
For some reason, I can't remember why I was there (perhaps visiting an aunt or something).
Anyway, while walking towards the exit, I remember an aunt of mine stopping me as she happened to be in the same area by coincidence.
We began making small talk.
And some random friend of hers -- who I have no idea who she was -- stopped by and my aunt introduced me to her.
She introduced me as "this is Matt, he TRAVELS!"
And she began talking about my trip to Guatemala and Mexico if I remember right.
The older lady who was a friend of hers stared at me with a weird look but we greeted each other.
And the conversation went from there with no mention again of my traveling habits.
Since then, I had other similar moments where random family members would mention loudly to strangers about how much I travel.
One time when I was in a Best Buy, I had a similar moment where a family member told some employee that "we have to hurry because he is TRAVELING soon and is going out of the country soon."
Honestly, it was weird as fuck.
It's always weird as fuck whenever anyone in real life knows that I have traveled a lot.
Even when it comes to people posting about it on Facebook, I find it weird.
Honestly, it's not much of a topic and not really one provoked by anything recently.
As I spent the last few weeks thinking of things to write about that have come to mind over the years living down here, this has been one of them.
But nobody back home ever mentions my traveling or living abroad to anyone nowadays.
It was weird when it happened whenever.
For one, sometimes you get weird comments about what life is like abroad that just rub you the wrong the way.
Like when I returned from time in Argentina and was asked about tacos.
Or, on another occasion, I had a trip to go to Europe and was told by some eyeglass lady about how she'd "never go to Europe because of Islamic terrorism."
While I guess the latter statement is more understandable in the same way one might be scared of narcos in Mexico, we all understand that it's very much not likely to happen to her or most folks.
And, on the comment about tacos in Argentina, you obviously don't want to be a Ben Shapiro type dick who goes "well actually, let's say hypothetically that Argentina had tacos which they don't..."
You know, you aren't winning any hearts by correcting small ignorances like that and you actually can rub people the wrong way even if you are trying to be nice about it.
Second, when you actually do get talking with people about what life is like down there, most truly don't give a shit beyond the stereotypical things they hear.
They don't want to hear how tacos aren't popular in Argentina and what the food is like.
Quite frankly, they don't give a shit and, if we're being honest, they can't relate to what you are saying most of the time.
Unless they have traveled a bit themselves or if what you say is somehow similar to something they have noticed back home.
Beyond that, you get the occasional person who is truly just curious and actually will listen and, if they are smart, might even throw some comments back your way that get YOU thinking about your interpretation of life abroad.
But those in the last group are rare as fuck.
Nor should you expect it because they don't give a fuck nor can relate usually to your experience like I said already.
Third, it's weird for me to have it brought up because, if I'm being honest, even to this day the whole "living abroad" is a weird thing for me personally.
I'm used to it by now but I believe everyone who lives abroad has this "wait, the fuck? I live abroad?" moment.
It's something I wrote about here.
Where you just contrast your new life to the old one back home and it can be weird as fuck to think about even if you have gotten used to life abroad.
Finally -- and perhaps the most important reason for why I feel weird when my traveling is brought up -- is because it feels "too rich" so to speak.
For example, you wouldn't mention that you own a nice car, would you?
Or that you had a nice dinner that costed 500 bucks, would you?
Well, to be fair, plenty of men would as a way to show off.
But we all know that traveling has a "hint of luxury" to it, so to speak.
That it's something only rich or very comfortable people do.
Even if that's not true these days because you have no shortage of "broke as fuck" expats who have very little money to their name.
It's not the 1950s anymore where traveling was actually more of a luxury.
And that is the main reason why I feel uncomfortable letting anyone know I travel abroad (especially strangers).
Coming from a small town in Iowa where most a vast majority of folks are not traveling abroad (or live abroad in my case), I personally feel it gives off those similar vibes of telling others "oh, I just had a 500 dollar dinner today" or "have you seen my Lamborghini?"
Even though, those who know me, know that my lifestyle is DEFINITELY not that of someone who rides a Lamborghini or has 500 dollar dinners.
I remember one time talking with my mom about this somehow in her car on the ride home years ago and I said to her something along the lines of "you know, my life isn't a vacation abroad like you all think it is."
And she understood what I was saying perhaps because she knows me more and I think she has realized that I only spend like 700 bucks a month to live down here.
Which, to anyone back home, that sounds like poverty level living (I swear it's not!).
.....maybe lower middle class or middle class for Mexico.
Though, to be fair, I can get why some folks would think I still live "the high life" given I started my time in Latin America doing awesome ass adventures and posting lots of pics.
Even though I still do fun things, my life is more routine these days as I'm not kayaking among ice glaciers in Argentina or hiking in the Amazon Rainforest.
And, even with my adventures in Mexico City these days, I don't post pics anymore on Facebook.
So it's understandable also from that context why some would look at my life and think "wow, he lives the high life while living abroad."
Perhaps also because "living abroad" sounds more interesting than working at the local bank.
Putting aside that context though, these were not things that I was thinking of when I originally would be uncomfortable at any mention of me traveling or living abroad.
Most importantly and above all, it just comes down to being from a small town where most people don't do this sort of thing and you "stand out" so to speak when it gets mentioned and I don't like having attention put on me.
Granted, like I said, this hasn't been an issue for me in so many odd years.
Whenever I'm back home, I don't have family members anymore telling random people "OH HE LIVES ABROAD!"
I don't mind talking about it in public at a restaurant with family.
Just don't like that "odd stare" from a complete stranger when the fact is mentioned.
Nor did I ever like the "feelings of envy" (if you can call it that) from any family member about it here.
Which, to be fair, I'm not sure if "envy" is the right word but something similar to it anyhow.
Above all, whenever I go home to visit the family for a week or a month (however long the trip might be), I usually prefer it if they didn't even mention my time living abroad but it depends on the context.
If it's just random questions about life abroad, that's fine.
As long as I don't feel like I'm being introduced as "Matt the Luxury Traveling guy," not feeling any "envy" feelings or whatever you'd call it and as long as I'm not getting pressure to stay home.
Otherwise, mentions of travel is OK with me usually.
Not that I make a big deal about it anyway even if someone does introduce me as "THIS IS MATT! HE TRAVELS! DID YOU KNOW THAT HE HAS JEFF BEZOS ON HIS PHONE?!?"
Even in that scenario, I'd usually just go "right yup, sounds right. Hello there. This is me."
Anyway, it's a small topic to life when uhhh...
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