I now make things up. When people nag me about where I've been or what I've been doing in my life I tell them I've been in seclusion trying to overcome my troglydytic ways while simultaneously trying to discover my purpose in life.
When I've gone back on holiday, or fielded a couple of emails or messages the overwhelming response is that I'm now rich and then whoever it is hits me for a loan or in the case of my sister's friend, or some classmate I don't remember from middle school, a Christmas present because they've thought a lot about me in the time we haven't seen each other. No one has ever mentioned anything at all about where I've been. Just that I've been overseas; I'm rich; I owe them.
This reaction has caused me to re-evaluate my concept of politeness.