Monday, August 23, 2010

10 Things I Hate About Travel

(Apparently I'm procrastinating about finishing my blog posts about recent trip to Newfoundland and various other points east.  I promise I'll finish soon.  I absolutely, utterly adore Newfoundland and you really need to hear about it -- too many people I know have never been there or, in the case of the "furriners", have never even heard of it.)

In the meantime, I have a little ranting to get off my chest.  I love travelling, mostly, but there's a few things that irk me about it.

10.  Shoes:  the pretty shoes just aren't practical for backpacking. They take up too much space and weigh too much for the once or twice I might actually wear them in a trip of many months, so the Jimmy Choos have to stay at home. Tevas and hiking boots just don't give me the same thrill.

9.  High-maintenance chicks:  seriously, do you REALLY need to travel with a blow-dryer, curling iron and full array of cosmetics to the wilds of Bolivia?  Fine if you're spending the week at an all-inclusive resort, but re-think it if you're backpacking.  Especially if you're going to bitch about how much your backpack weighs. (Note:  they ALWAYS do).

8.  Backpacker sluts (male variety):  no, I'm not necessarily going to sleep with you just because you're kind of cute and we had a couple of beers together.  I'm not uptight or frigid; maybe I just don't want to.  (You're not actually God's gift, sorry to break it to you!),  Oh, and if you DO get off with some other girl, please don't do it in the dorm room that we all share.  Thanks.

7.  Walking Wallet Syndrome:  yes, I probably have more money (despite being currently unemployed) than people in many parts of the world. No, that doesn't mean I want them to hit me up every two minutes with a guilt trip to get me to buy tacky crap. Occasionally I like to meet locals who have a genuine interest in why I'm there and who I am, not just people who think they can scam me out of my supposed riches.

6.  Buying Stuff:  I don't like shopping at the best of times (accumulating lots of material crap holds no thrill), but it bugs me most when I have to replace things I already own. Like my camera, that had the temerity to die about 3 days into my East Coast trip. So instead of my beautiful Panasonic Lumix that takes fabulous pictures and still fits in a pocket, I have a cheap-ish Sony that doesn't do half as well. Hoping that the Lumix is fix-able but waiting to find that out.

5.  Holier-than-thou backpackers:  I don't care if you've gone on foot across the Iraqi desert, that doesn't make you any more "authentic" than me as a traveller. There is no right or wrong way to do it; let everybody pick where and how they want to travel. Stop judging everybody else, get over yourself and just get on with your own trip.

4.  Flying:  hate it, hate it, hate it with a passion.  It's boring, uncomfortable and really, really bad for the environment.  I would never take anything but trains, buses (Argentine variety, please), and boats, except for the unfortunate fact that much of the world is too far away to make it practical. 

3.  Time/Money Paradox:  if you have enough money, you probably don't have enough time (because you're working for a living, or, like me, aren't currently working but have a deadline to go back). If you have enough time, you're probably broke because you're a student or unemployed or a career backpacker, and don't have enough money to do some of the cool expensive stuff like the Galapagos. You can't win.

2.  Saying Good-bye:  you get to meet a lot of great people while travelling, if you want to. That's great. The part that sucks is that you usually have to say good-bye again after a couple of days (at best) and may or may not bump into them again. Best case scenario is you might have some place to crash in a cool part of the world if you ever get there, but you probably won't get to just hang out and have coffee very often.

And the number one thing that I hate about travelling:

1.  Time: there's never enough of it to see everything I want to see. I had five months in South America and still had to skip bits in the countries I got to, and didn't even make it to some countries. Hell, I have an entire year off and it's not going to be enough to get everywhere I'd like.  

(But I'd run out of money one day so going back to work at some point is, sadly, necessary -- see also number 3.)

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