Anyone who's ever done a group tour of more than a just a few days with a decent bunch of people will know that time operates mysteriously in that bubble. Say it's a two-week adventure filled with temples, beaches, jungles and museums, that also means 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 14 dinners with your new friends. In total, 42 shared meals — 42 meals!
It could take four or five years with your closest friends back home to rack up those kind of shared dining numbers. The point being, if you happen to like the people fate threw into a tour group at the same time as you, then you'll find yourself getting to know them very well, very quickly. And as the years go by that fortnight will come to occupy far more rent space in your memory than any normal two-week chapter.
What this also means is that the first night after the tour has ended — that very first night of having dinner alone — hits you like that first night home from school camp. Where have all my friends gone? What are they doing right now? Shall I call them? Will I ever see them again? Maybe it sounds stupid because maybe it is, but Post Tour Group Depression certainly feels very real.
Some people deal with PTGD by being determined to cut all ties with their new chums as soon as the tour's ended. For them it would only prolong the heartache, so no reunions, no emails. But if you're lucky — and I've been lucky — you just might find yourselves at each other's weddings years down the line.
Tom Hiddleston's Bewildered Middle-aged Fans
"I know you!" A bewildered middle-aged Aussie lady was stabbing her finger in in the direction of British actor Tom Hiddleston while doing her best impersonation of a bewildered middle-aged Aussie lady. This was all taking place at Brisbane Airport's Business Class Lounge in 2016 and the Hollywood star (Thor, Avengers, Kong: Skull Island, etc.) had taken a seat at the table next to me.
"I know you!" she said again, with her stabby finger and a smile that was the opposite of endearing. To his credit, Tom gave what looked like a genuine smile in return. "You're that actor! What's your name again?"
He then introduced himself and politely engaged in some chit-chat with a sort-of-a-fan, though really just someone excited to meet a famous person. Well played Tom, well played. But seriously, what would possess someone to think that aggressively pointing their finger at a celebrity and demanding they tell you their name is the way to go?
Then another woman did a similar thing. "I recognise you, but who are you again?" I was starting to feel embarrassed for him, but again, he treated these folks warmly and with a considerable amount of charm. By now the murmurings that a Hollywood star was sitting near the breakfast counter had spread through the lounge.
Then something surprising happened. A genuine fan — a mother with a child maybe about 10 years old — lined up to approach him, clearly nervous. She just wanted to tell him how much she loved his film and TV work and how she hoped he'd enjoyed Australia.
To which Tom invited them to sit down. And because they were so nervous, Tom started asking them questions to make them relax. What a guy! After he left I cemented my own fears that I'd been a slightly dodgy eavesdropper by tweeting what had happened. And for what it's worth, it's hands down the most liked and reshared piece of social media I've ever been involved in*.
* Not much competition.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's 'The Two', 'Coast Soul' on Coast and writes theRoxboroghReport.com.