Do you find travel experts intimidating? Yeah, me too, and I'm supposed to be one of them! Here are a few things you might find hard to believe about travel professionals.
1. We know what we're doing
Here's a secret: no-one really knows what they're doing all the time, even if they look like they do. The most confident, self-assured traveller doesn't have all the answers, and won't know how to manage every situation.
I generally have a vague sense of where I'm supposed to be going and what's probably the best way to get there (usually not a ramshackle pick-up truck held together with gaffer tape and hope). And it seems to work most of the time. And when it doesn't? Well sometimes that can be fun too.
2. We don't get anxious
I could fill whole internets with the amount of stuff I've worried about while travelling. My biggest fear is that I miss my plane. Actually, that's my second biggest fear - my biggest fear is that I run out of snacks.
And I'm not alone. Even the most seasoned travellers get anxious sometimes. People who work and travel often worry about losing some of their kit or paperwork, and many solo travellers are afraid of getting lonely.
3. We know what to pack
There are posts elsewhere on this blog about how rubbish I am at packing. It's something that never really seems to get much better.
The thing is, no matter where you've been and what you've done, every trip is new. It might be a new location, a new time of year, or a new activity. Or, if you're like me, you've just got fatter since the last time you went there and can no longer carry off those shorts. :(
By the way, when you meet someone who does seem to have packed everything they need? They're carrying twice as much as you.
4. We always take pictures of interesting things
Tourists get their picture taken smiling in front of a famous place - just like everyone else. Real travellers are supposed to take photos of more interesting subjects.
When you see a blog or article with lots of lovely pictures, don't forget that these are the cream of the crop. For example, on this site, we have access to image banks of thousands of pictures. What you don't see are the thousands more that were taken and rejected. Until now:
5. We don't do touristy stuff
Ah, that old chestnut.
Do you seriously think that any traveller, when faced with the chance of seeing the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat or Urulu would go 'Nah, too mainstream mate'? Of course not. We all want to see stuff like that because it's cool!
The only time I deliberately avoided a famous tourist attraction was when I was in Brussels and didn't go and look at the Manneken Pis (that stupid statue of a boy urinating). I live in Manchester, if I want to see boys weeing in the street I'll just look out of the window.
6. We're never at home
Even though we travel for work, we don't do it all the time. Yes, I thought that would have been obvious too but a lot of people seem to think I'm like Cheryl Cole (I wish) jetting off here, there and everywhere at a moment's notice.
True, some of our partners spend a lot of time abroad, especially the ski people and other seasonal companies. But all of us quite enjoy being at home for large chunks of the year, and travel makes us appreciate coming home to our partner / cat / existentialist angst even more.
So yes, we do sit at home knitting in front of the telly when we're not out saving the world. But don't tell anyone else, eh?