Elevators, manspreading & nagging

I was home for three days before I booked my next trip – a one-way ticket to Australia! I will buy a return from New Zealand.. But I’m still working out details for the time being. My big hang up is how long to stay. I bought a year of travel insurance before I started doing any travel…the only stipulation is that each ‘trip’ can’t be more than 45 days to be eligible for benefits should something happen. Is 45 days enough for Australia and New Zealand? I don’t know…

I’ve been home for almost two weeks now, so I’ve had some time to reflect on my experiences in Europe. It was a truly incredible trip. I think the highlight (outside of seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in a very long time) was Paris. I’ve heard people say that they didn’t like Paris, or weren’t impressed with it. To those people.. You must have done Paris the wrong way. Maybe it was the people I met up with, maybe it was the time of year (not many tourists).. I don’t know.. But it was amazing.

Selfie on the back of a moped on my final night in Paris. Sorry for the lack of photo quality…

One thing I’ve tried to do in writing these updates is keep them positive. I try not to dwell on negativity or complain about people, so though I may have wanted to bitch about things I saw or experienced, I refrained from them in earlier posts. Most of them have been my shock with how people act in certain situations. So here are some of those gripes and moments where I wanted to say to people ‘Seriously?!’ Or ‘Quit bitching…you’re on vacation!’

Sorry ahead of time for all the ‘bitching’ that you’re about to read.

1. “You don’t have an elevator to the second floor??”

My room in Venice was near the entryway of my AirBnB, where multiple people were staying. It was set up so you didn’t have to check in with anyone when you arrived. The walls were thin, so I overheard a conversation one morning with a woman arriving and not being able to find her room. 

For those that may not know.. Venice is a walking city – no cars, lots of steps, lots of bridges. The woman was on the phone with the owner and said she couldn’t locate the room. Right inside the entryway, where she was standing was a staircase. The unit was just two floors – the size of a large house. From what I heard, she hadn’t gone up them, and simply walked around the ground floor looking at the room names. 

The owner must have told her that her room was upstairs…and she replied “Is there an elevator?” When they hung up I heard the woman outside grumbling..”That’s ridiculous.. No elevator.. How am I supposed to get my luggage up.. This is ridiculous.”

My thoughts: “SERIOUSLY!! You’re in Venice. Quit being a spoiled brat and walk your luggage up one set of stairs. You had to cross how many bridges and go up and down how many steps to get this far?!? Relax in the sitting area if your tired if you need too.. no need to complain.” This is why Americans are stereotyped as lazy.

She should relax and enjoy life like this little fellow at the Munich Zoo.

2. Italian train etiquette

I don’t want to generalize and make a blanket statement about Italians on trains, but the two that were in my immediate vicinity were surprising unaware of how their actions were received by others around them. 

First, when we crossed Switzerland into Italy, a young Italian woman sat down in the seat next to me and across from another person. I had half the normal space at my feet because there was a little protrusion coming in below the seats, so I only had about a foot of space for my feet. When this girl sat down, not only did she immediately throw her arms and elbows across both armrests pushing me aside, but she had the worst case of manspreading I have ever seen – from both males and females. Not only just spreading out to the sides, but she spread across and took space from the foot area of the person across from her too. She wasn’t tall either…Imagine a human-sized snail sitting down and immediately morphing into a human-sized starfish!  

My thoughts: “I don’t care who you are.. I don’t know you.. Keep out of my personal space!” 

Second was a man that got on as we were nearing Venice. He sat immediately across from me. He continued to sniff gross amounts of phlegm back into his throat and cough without covering his mouth. While doing that, he was carrying on a very loud conversation on his phone.

My thoughts: “Ew. Gross. No. I can’t get sick.. Please don’t breathe on me. And please..no need to yell.. Talking in a normal voice is all that’s needed on a phone call. They can hear you.”

Final thoughts on the train: no matter where you are, please be considerate of your surroundings. 

The one behind was all up on the one in front..Please don’t be like them.

3. Please take the nag out of your voice.

I had a layover in Lyon on my way to Paris and as I was waiting in line to board there was an elderly couple right behind me. We were in line for awhile so the following went on for some time in multiple variations.

The woman (We’ll call her Sue.. She looked like a Sue) was talking with the people she was traveling with, including her husband (we’ll call him Paul.. Because he looked like a Paul). They were both older (probably in their 80s). Paul had some confusion and even greater mobility issues.. But hey.. More power to you for still traveling! Sue on the other hand, seemed completely annoyed with Paul’s troubles. I can’t count how many times I heard her say “Move Paul. No.. What are you doing? Go the other way.. No! The other way! Oh please Paul. Paaauuuul.” None of this was said in a pleasant way… She sounded like such a nag.. Very annoyed and almost mean. He wasn’t that confused, and you could hear the frustration in his voice with her as well. However, he seemed for the most part unbothered with it. 

My thoughts: “It’s ok Paul. I would be confused as hell too with her nagging me like that. Keep on keeping on…” 

“Sue… Chill out. Smile. Quit nagging. You sound like a total bitch. You’re on vacation and all you can do is push your husband around. I can’t imagine that being enjoyable!”

Sue, take a cue from this guy at the Munich Zoo. Leave Paul alone and relax.

Now, I know I sound ‘judgey’ and I don’t know the situations around any of these.. Someone may have been having a really bad day, or had some experience that I can’t even imagine. That’s why I have to thank my lucky stars that I’m happy, and lucky to be able to go on these adventures and it re-enforces the fact that no matter what, I will enjoy my life to the fullest. I don’t ever want to be the nagging bitch who has no clue how my actions affect my surroundings.

End rant.


3 thoughts on “Elevators, manspreading & nagging

  1. Sue Witt

    You are having so much fun. I have been to many of the places you have traveled to in Europe and had a good time everywhere. I am jealous of your time in New Zealand. After college I went to Australia for 6-7 months. We had an AFS student from there so I hung with her for a while then traveled. I didn’t have the $ to get to New Zealand but I know you will love it….. everyone does.
    Go easy on the old lady Sue, Tom…. I mean Paul might have been a real pill.

    safe travels… love,


  2. Jessie

    Your train stories sound like the Long Island Rail Road. One day this older man had his head phones on during a rush hour train and was singing out loud!! I asked him how he could be so self involved that he didn’t realize that might annoy other people. His response was that “it’s a free country.” Unbelievable and apparently universal too.


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