I had always thought of organized bus tours as a perfect way for non-travelers to travel. No judgement there, of course, and to each their own and all that. It’s just that organized tours, while pleasantly taking the decision-making stress out of the occasion are, as most would agree, a bit too controlled, often limiting the options of really seeing all that a city has to offer.
And however much as I hate to admit it, before joining my parents on their “We’ve Retired!” tour, I was expecting a group of stereotypical group of boring fuddy duddys and as such, probably a lot of Pauls.
I should really be ashamed of my ability to quickly assume and judge people before I’ve even met them. Where did I get off judging people for their manner of travel? After all, I was going on this very same tour myself and I’m no know-it-all, fuddy duddy, right?
However, as the tour began and introductions were made, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were a number of interesting people from all over the world on board, Australians, French, Filipinos, Canadians, etc. I quickly found myself delving eagerly into an examination process (what some normals may just call conversating) with almost every one of my co-bussers. Contrary to my hasty and arrogant assumptions, everyone on the tour was a well-seasoned traveler, but had decided, like me, to see this part of the world for some reason or other in this rather quick and controlled manner.
As the wheels on the bus carried us through the rolling Scottish hills laden with bright yellow grape seed and dotted with gozmillions of sheep, I found myself in any number of intriguing conversations with my fellow busmates.
However, within that great mix of nationalities and personalities, there was one lady who, although technically a complete stranger, seemed uncannily familiar to me. Perhaps it’s because I have met her many times before, only in many forms and under many different circumstances:
The One Upper.
What’s a One Upper, you ask? Well, it’s that person who feels the need to one up you on everything you say. While One Uppers are ubiquitous around the world, I find that they’re especially prevalent in two settings: the foodie group and the traveler group.
On this particular trip, it was a spunky single traveler from down under, Claire. Claire had done everything and seen everything everywhere and felt the need to bring it up in every conversation, relevant or not.
Now, at first, it wasn’t that noticeable and she was quite lovely in every other way. But, I soon realized that every comment someone made was met with a one up:
Me: “On our last trip to France, we took a road trip up the west coast and….”
Claire: “Oh, I was in Paris last year. In fact, I’ve been quite a few times – it’s a fantastic city. That’s why I keep going back and that’s why I’ve been to Paris so many times.”
Claire: “Yes, I’ve lived in Madrid for a while now and I really love the city.”
Claire: “If you really want to see a great city, go to Rome. Rome is a great city. I try to go there at least twice a year.”
Me: “I’m pretty excited to see Edinburgh. I’ve never been and I’m looking forward to exploring a bit of the city.”
Claire: “We’ll, I’ve seen Edinburgh before. In fact, I’ve been all over Scotland. Twice. ”
In fact, even when you weren’t talking about travel, Claire would work it into every conversation possible.
Me: “My mom got sick before the trip and we had to take her to the hospital. It was pretty scary.”
Claire: “Oh, the same thing happened to me in Paris. I got sick and had to go to to a Parisian hospital on one of my many trips to Paris. I just love Paris.”
Me: “The breakfast was very nice this morning, wasn’t it?”
Claire: “You should try breakfast in Paris sometime. They have great breakfasts in Paris.”
Me: “OMG! Look at that sweet puppy!”
Claire: “When you go to Paris, you’ll see that people bring their dogs inside the cafes. I love Paris.”
Me: “This long bus ride is making me a bit nauseous.”
Claire: “During one of my many trips to Paris, I became nauseous. Twice.”
Me: “Lady, please. I’m mentally slapping you every time you one up me. ”
Claire: “I was slapped in the face in Paris, twice. In fact, the Parisians love to slap and that’s why I love to go there so much.”
Ok, so maybe I made that last one up. But you get the idea, right? Maybe I’m just too sensitive or something, but this behavior just drives me crazy.
Am I the only one that notices the travel One Upper?