Every activity has its "in crowd," that small, self-satisfied band who have seen it all, done it all and exude a detached level of cool that outliers can only gaze at in wonder. Or, so they think. More often, boorishness is the only impression they leave.
Recently, Cruise Critic, a travel company with a significant on-line presence, posed the following on Facebook:
"Nothing screams I'm a cruise newbie like...."
There was the usual parade of answers from cruise veterans - SeaPass on a lanyard around your neck, the wrong kind of shoes, overpacking, underpacking.... Appearing, somehow, confused. One person offered that cruise newbies don't know bow from stern.
My contribution? Newbies are readily identifiable because they are amazed at the whole thing. A big, gorgeous ship - food, fun, shows. A chance to go amazing places and have extraordinary experiences.... What's not to love? Who knowingly takes that for granted?
I submitted my comment and forgot about it.
I got ninety-three "likes" within the first twelve hours. People want to be charmed. They want to be positive, even downright giddy, about things that are fun.
How 'bout - let's stop being so dour. Let's start remembering what it was like as a kid, seeing something for the first time and trying to recapture the wonder, the awesomeness of discovery. Just because it isn't the first time doesn't mean it can't be the best time.
I'm a total newbie, especially about travelling. Sign me up to be silly, astonished, enraptured. Every time I get on a plane, especially in the company of my wife, it's.... "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.*" We're going flying!
I don't exude the "cool" of an experienced cruiser, or hiker or diner?
High Flight, John Gillespie Magee Jr.