How I feel for the poor eyes that find themselves looking at the beginning of a beer gut, hanging over yoga pants bought in Hoi An. Above the belly button, is the frayed edges of a shrunken, out of shape, Thai-dye t-shirt from Fruit of the Loom. Pubic hair poking somewhere in-between.
Don’t forget the chewing gum white underwear that were mixed up in the Hostel washing load, twisted up from your drunken nights sleep on what used to be your waist.
Trainers smelling like cat piss distracting somewhat from the homeless persona that the under 30’s tourist is determined to portray. You aren’t “Travelling”… you just stink.
Since I bought myself a travelling back pack a year ago, my social media feed is full of ads about travelling. I gone’ done it already but sometimes… being the human that I am, I get dragged in for a quick look. Like watching a mangled car wreck as I drive by, I just gotta look.
I went searching this ‘experience’ that everyone on Reddit and LadBible was talking about, hit Vietnam and Cambodia (and the rest), wasn’t that spectacular. If you’re drinking it makes the evenings quite funny and the recovery equally entertaining, but that’s the same everywhere really.
Most places I went it was either locals that spoke zero English (French, Spanish, Italian, German) and hey, I’m not going to blame them for that, it’s their country or the second group of people in the vicinity… a bunch of westerners with selfie sticks taking videos “of everything Asia has to offer…. oh look at me, look at me!”
It seemed all I was experiencing was some kind of Sea-World for poverty or faux artefacts. It felt like an OFSTED report at school, except I, and all of the other tourists were the inspectors, buying shit we didn’t need as a memento. Except they weren’t memento’s, nor were the photos, they weren’t memories, memories belong in your mind.
I see the videos on Social Media and the comments too for that matter
“I have to go there.”
“@YourName… we have to go to this place”
“OMG going there in 23 months and 44 days, can’t wait.”
Trouble is, you don’t own a helicopter, you’re not going to see that view. Trouble is, you’re going to use your phone rather than your eyes. Trouble is, your phone isn’t the HD camera that they’re using. These tourists are just travelling to take a photo that nobody cares about.
I’ve probably never felt so isolated as I did by making hundreds of friends whilst on the road. Taking a bus through the single lane dirt roads of Cambodia, is barely an experience… it’s a risk. Drinking seventy five days out of the ninety you’re away isn’t really taking in the culture.
Shame on me for not speaking enough of the language to mix with the locals properly because the poverty stricken children in the slums and paddy fields looked to be those having the best time. I just couldn’t learn it, tried hard on DuoLingo, tried to speak; failed.
As for the blogs I read in preparation, what a waste of time. Nobody is getting mugged, robbed, conned, drugged. One doesn’t need to be all that cautious, sleep on a night train with one eye opened and the other eyelid handcuffed to your $100 backpack with your 3rd Generation iPod and your four cans of beer… nobody wants your shit.
These kids saying #wanderlust #travel but you what are you really doing? Taking a photo with some “Loving family” whose “kids you will miss” to show that you can slum it. If I have to hear one more middle class white kid talk about their year in Asia hanging out with other middle class white kids in middle class white tourist spots, most of which was drunkenly captured on a GoPro I might just have to write a blog about it.