Fuck Your Travel Faux Pas
Travel has somehow become a cultural hurdle that must be jumped in a particular way, and if one does not adhere to that particularity, their travel loses all substance. To many, they may as well have just not wasted all that money.
Faux pas number one is organised tours. This is especially if you happen to live on the north side of Melbourne and are recounting your international escapades to the bearded and colon-cleansed dude opposite you. “So, did you travel on your own?” will eventually be asked, and if the next words out of your mouth include Contiki or Top Deck, you unwittingly just committed social suicide, and it’s probably better if you just leave.
Now don’t get me wrong: I myself have been part of that judgement parade, yet now the more I think about it, the more stupid it seems. So some girl didn’t want to travel on her own straight out of high school in a foreign country without enough social skills to possibly have any fun. So some guy wanted his cultural experience coupled with STD scares and frequent but fairly average sex. What the fuck do you care, because whilst they were off having a jam-packed holiday filled with pool parties, castle climbing and mind-blowing views, you were missing your plane to Paris, forking out another 100 euros just to get there and only just realising you don’t know anybody, you’re too tired to mingle and you’re also too poor, which you’re probably very proud of now.
I’m not saying there isn’t huge merit to traveling on your own and being forced into making friends and all that typical shit. However, that doesn’t suddenly give you license to become the-be-all-and-end-all judge on what kind of travel is worthy and what kind of travel is “lazy and low-grade”, to quote an unknown douche overheard at an overpriced and overrated bar in Fitzroy. Get over yourself.
Faux pas number two seems to be hotels, which is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If I’d had the money to stay in a few hotels whilst backpacking across Europe, you can bet I’d have spent it. Hostels, while cheap and a great way to meet people who are also keen to get to know whatever city you’re in by vomiting in its alleyways and getting kicked out of its bars, also happen to be distinctly unclean, breeding grounds for thieves and insomnia inducing, as someone is always snoring or copulating next to you. Think of the bed bugs, or in my case scabies, you fools. Wouldn’t you rather be emotionally restored, have a hot shower and a total lack of mind-blowingly boring conversation with that five-minute friend who is so desperate for human contact they seem to have attached to you faster than a junkie can rail his stash? I definitely don’t agree with all-hotel, no-hostel travel, but next time you ask someone for accommodation advice about and the person tells you about that fantastic hotel, swallow your bullshit and take a knee because sometimes your sanity is more important than your alternative image.
Last but not least is faux pas number three: travelling along the beaten track. “You went to Peru and actually bothered to hike the Inca trails? How cliche.” Apparently you’re supposed to figure out a completely new and exciting thing to do in every place you ever visit, and if you don’t, if you just go to the places everyone else has been to, no matter what kind of beauty there is to behold, you’ll be told it was a total waste of time because you could have just Googled it. For fuck’s sake, really?
Every single advertisement I see these days has “off the beaten path” as a part of its enticement scheme, and that may have served to indoctrinate quite a few travellers, because now if you stood where someone else stood to gaze at a foreign marvel, it’s simply banal. I hate to break this to you at all, but that’s a rather large load of crap. Half of my travel was absolutely nothing new, and you know what, it was so fucking sick I still haven’t recovered, so quieten down all you Kerouac sycophants, you have a little too much time on your hands and not enough common sense to recognise that not all things known are all things boring.
My point, or rather my advice, is don’t spend your time travelling the hard way just so it’ll sound cool when you are talking about it seven months down the line, because if that’s really a concern, you’re wasting your money and you should probably just stay home. Travelling is your own adventure and you can do it however you want and with whomever you want. Make the best of it – nothing else should matter.