Backpacker, traveler, citizen of the world, gap yarer, sex-tourist. There are many ways younger travelers like to refer to themselves, or are referred to, but what they all have in common, before they either go back home to a “real job”, become a jaded expat, or drug mule is that in their early days of “discovering themselves” they collect stories of the cultures they see and the people they meet. On return home, or in traveler circles they then like to implant their new-found knowledge of heathen, uneducated folk. But the big question is, would they have the time of day for the same kind of person back home?
Here’s our 5 favorite traveler takes and their western equivalent.
5) The wise local (drunk) elder
The wise local elder is someone from a village. Or small town that immediately befriends said backpacker and buys them a drink of the local moonshine. He then reluctantly lets said backpacker buy drink after drink of said local moonshine. Whilst regaling them with tales about how he has never left his hometown whilst getting backpacker pant-shitting drunk.
The story might go like “It was an authentic setting with this guy who was so happy just drinking despite the fact he literally had nothing”.
If said traveler saw equivalent person in western land, he would pore scorn over him for being the local smelly drunk.
4) Only wears traditional clothes
Every now and again, you go to a place where despite it being 2018 the odd guy or girl still insists on dressing in traditional clothes. I am not talking about places where traditional clothes are part of everyday life like the Sari in India. But places where no one actually wears impractical clothes by choice anymore. And the reasoning is usually that they are massively nationalistic and clinging to a bygone era.
The story might go like “and they only wore traditional clothes which was cool. Whilst they told tales about their rich history when they were a great empire”.
It is quite funny how we see homegrown nationalist as bellends. But when people travel, they become protectors of their culture. Americans you get confederate civil war dude. British you get the Morris dancer. Both of whom deserve a punch.
3) Authentic street drinking
A particular favorite on the Khao San Road in Thailand. The traveler is offended by how “touristy” it is. But still goes to stay there anyway. To stick it to the man, they decide to drink outside 7/11 for 50 cents instead of paying tourist prices of $1. Ofcourse, ignoring the fact that the locals rely on earning money from tourists they instead give their money to a corporation.
You might hear “it’s not go touristy that we just hung out drinking on the street which was much more authentic”.
There’s nothing wrong with drinking on the street. But if you do it as a badge of honor, you’re a twat.
2) The fellow travelers/useful idiots
Where to start with these guys?! They tend to be attracted to slightly authoritarian regimes. Usually shall we say of a left-wing nature. They frequent said countries and they like to extol the virtues of said countries while pouring scorn on their countries of origin. Usually on Facebook via their iPhone. Any irony spotted yet?
Of course, no one is saying you can’t be a leftie and have an iPhone. But a little sense of reality never goes a miss.
1) The apologist
The apologist will wax lyrical using these famous words “you don’t understand, it’s just their culture/religion”. They will then go onto excuse things like homophobia, racism, sexism, you name it, because there’s a God saying it or its culture. There’s nothing wrong with respecting differences. But there are people a bit closer to home with similar views and that’s what makes it hypocritical.
“It’s not their fault man, it’s just their culture”.
So, what do you think of our list? Did we miss anyone?