I guess it’s meant with the best intentions. But, how to answer?
Do they really want to know?
If it comes from somebody you talk with regularly, it could be just a way to say, hey, we haven’t talked in a few weeks, and it would be strange to pick up where we left off without acknowledging your absence.
If the fact that you’ve just returned from the wildest, darkest jungles of Borneo doesn’t spark enough imagination to prompt a trip-specific question like “Eewww, what about all the leeches!?,” then “How was your trip?” may simply be answered, “Fine.”
That’s what I do anymore. Not literally give a one-word answer, but just reply with something breezy like, “Oh, great. It was a grand and sprawling adventure.” And if THAT doesn’t generate a follow-up question, they don’t want to know.
For the longest time I made the mistake of thinking people did want to know. I was so proud of our having traveled over the Himalayas from Kathmandu to Lhasa that I was
insufferable bursting to share all the noodle slurping thrills.
But some people just don’t care. Others think you’re kind of weird going off all that way.
There will be some who steer you away with a non-sequitur like “My uncle spent six years in China.” These people are embarrassed they couldn’t find Kathmandu or Lhasa on a map.
Once in a while, somebody will have done something equally fabulous and they will be a pleasure to talk with.
And others will say, “I want to go to Italy.”
With those people, just let the whole thing slide.