Based on years of informal polling of friends and family, most everyone has pet peeves about words, phrases or expressions that leave them feeling like they’ve just heard chalk squeaking across a blackboard.
(I don’t know if teachers still employ chalk and blackboards, but baby boomers will remember.)
Words that irk. Phrases that irritate.
Many have to do with the workplace. For example, my daughter once had a friend who was a chef and couldn’t stand the word “meat.”
One of my brothers-in-law who works in business hates jargon-y business words like “parameters.”
My wife, a longtime magazine editor, is driven up a wall by nouns turned into verbs, such as “impact.”
A friend who is an avid cook despised the word “dollop,” to the point where he almost refused to serve sour cream in his house — though eventually he got over it.
To the rest of us,. these may seem like perfectly good words, and so I completely understand if you do not share my disdain for the word “enthusiast” — as in “ski enthusiast,” “diving enthusiast,” or “golf enthusiast.”
I think I’ve read one — well, one thousand — too many press releases that use this loathsome word . “For the golf enthusiast in your family, blah blah blah” — I just stop reading at that point. (Perhaps oddly, I don’t mind the words “enthusiastic” or enthusiasm” at all.)
My specific reasons for hating “enthusiast”are hard to define and may be irrational, but that’s not the point. As someone who works in the travel field, they’re real to me.
The Most Irksome Travel-Related Things That People Say or Write
And so I bring you my personal list of overheard and overused travel expressions, cliches, words, headlines, and comments that I hope never to hear or read again — but of course will, because that’s how they got to be cliches.
A number of these, by the way, have been popularized by travel writers — perhaps including myself, though I hope not.
“Been there, done that” — an arrogant, cynical, dismissive phrase that suggests that just because you’ve been somewhere, you’ve done or seen all there is to see or do there. No, you haven’t.
“Oh, don’t go there — you’d hate it” — when someone gives me advice like this, it makes me want to go there (wherever it is) all the more, because it raises my curiosity. What is it they found so offensive? Let me judge for myself.
“Is it safe to go there?” — if you use common sense and stay out of dark alleys and drunken brawls at night, and you’re not in the middle of a war zone, it (again, wherever it is) is probably just as safe as back home. Just remember that they drive on the left side of the road in Britain and its former colonies, and don’t go bungee jumping with an agency called “Splat Adventures,” and you’ll probably be fine.
“How much is that in real money?” — this all too frequent question overheard in shops overseas is what gives American tourists a bad name. It’s not funny — it’s just dumb.
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” — this trendy maxim may be true at times, such as when hiking or going for a drive, but when you’re flying for 14 hours packed into coach class over the Pacific, it’s definitely the destination.
“I’m a traveler, not a tourist” — yes, I know that being a “tourist” has bad connotations, like couples dressed in matching outfits following a guide like sheep through the streets of Florence, and I know you’re above all that. But if you’re traveling for pleasure and set foot in a museum or even stop to admire the Eiffel Tower, you’re a tourist. And, just to be clear, you’re also a traveler –the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
“Ten Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of” — This one is a favorite feature of online travel publications, often cynically used as “click bait” to get you to read their post. I suppose you could say it’s an intriguing headline, but it’s also insulting to anyone who has heard of those places.
“Enthusiast” — I just couldn’t leave it off the list.
Readers, I’d love to hear about any travel expressions, maxims, words, phrases, or cliches that give you that chalk-on-blackboard shiver.