Getting a Hobo Education
We spend our childhood and early adult life refuting everything our parents have to say. They’re so old and shit and like, born in some decade when the TV wasn’t even invented (when the hell was the TV invented?!). And don’t even get me started on their quest to be cool and add you as a friend on “that Facemachine thing” (it’s fucking Facebook, Mum). But bless their cotton socks for giving us copious amounts of material to send into www.parentsshouldnttext.com.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic.
So you can imagine my utter disbelief and dismay when my mum actually came out with something wise! “You’re going to meet so many different people and cultures,” she said, “learn things that weren’t taught at school” and “come back a different person”. Yeah thanks Mum, you can stop now. Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m probably going off to Africa to help fight famine or South East Asia to build an orphanage with my bare, scrubby hands. No, I was doing something a lot more rewarding and educationally beneficial – I was going on a Contiki Tour and could not for the life of me believe how right <um got it when she told me I was going to experience all those things. Read and learn, my friends:
Meeting different people and cultures
Ok – this first point is a loose concept, as I soon realised that I’d travelled halfway around the world only to be surrounded by more dishevelled and smelly Australian uni students than I am when I’m at the local Centrelink picking up my fortnightly Austudy payment. BUT that is where the similarities stopped, as on my tour there was a cross section of people whose differences gave me some of this gold writing material!
Meet Steph, 19, from regional Victoria, who is studying a degree she suspects she’ll use, but, being from Generation Y, never will. She was on her first overseas trip by herself, was fiercely quiet and had never had a boyfriend. Now, when you are suffering from these symptoms, a Contiki tour is the perfect remedy. Two days into the tour, old mate Steph had partaken in, and subsequently won, the wet t-shit competition in Ios and had adopted a new favourite saying: “Look at me – I’m double D!” By day six, Steph had shagged, groped and pretty much molested two Italians, a hostel employee and the token American on the tour; and finally, by day 14, had used her commerce and business degree knowledge to successfully barter and purchase some homebrew moonshine at a price that would have barely covered the poor sellers’ overheads.
So thanks to the above chance meeting of such a character, I have now learned that the quiet ones are the ones you need to look out for, as I fear they may be knocked up within the next 12 months.
Learn things that you weren’t taught at school
At school, I learned how to be (relatively) book smart, which gave me some “street smarts”, but by god was I retarded at forming a relationship with the opposite sex. Going to an all-girls school probably didn’t help this. So enter Contiki: a rollercoaster of emotions and shenanigans that taught me life lessons that no science teacher ever could.
His name was Ryan and he was the Contiki tour manager/permanent part-time shagger. He was the man of my dreams and someone I could see myself growing old with (or at least for the next 2 – 14 days). He whisked me off my feet. No, literally. He picked me up when I was too drunk to walk home. He would whisper sweet nothings into my ear like, “I thought you were going to be frigid,” and would tuck me into bed before going next door to also “tuck” Jess into bed, then Sarah, then Loz. So I did indeed learn something that was never taught at school – “dating” (and I use that term loosely) your tour manager will end up like a messy, drunken episode of The Bachelor. Oh, and I’m still as shit as ever at choosing someone of the opposite sex.
You’ll come back a different person
Well that’s easy – of course you come back a different person when you have a rash. I told Mum it was from a spider bite – you can interpret that whichever way you want!
So let’s raise a toast to our parents who sometimes actually get it right, although probably had different experiences in mind when giving such words of wisdom. So if you’re looking for an education like no other – I say enrol into a Contiki course STAT because what other institution will allow you to put “beer pong like a boss” on your resume upon graduation?