For adventure sports lovers, the romantic appeal of travel is not a difficult one to explain. Whether you’re going in search of unconquered mountains to climb up (or slide down), empty breaks to surf or uncharted trails to ride, going somewhere and doing something new is a big part of the appeal.
You come across fascinating new cultures and interesting new people. Unfortunately, you will also meet some absolute bell-ends.
“You will meet some absolute bell-ends”
As anyone who’s been travelling will know, there are a few types that should be avoided at all costs.
1) The Trustafarian
It’s one of the ineluctable laws of physics. Anywhere in the world where you find backpacker hostels, there you will also find at least one trustafarian with a guitar.
You know the type – white boys with dreadlocks, flip-flops and more cheap beads than a mall full of Claire’s Accessories.
Like flies to shit, they congregate on world’s natural beauty spots, and then ruin them by “entertaining” everyone with terrible renditions of Redemption Song. Over and over and over again.
DO SAY… Can you play anything that’s not Bob Marley?
DON’T ASK… About the time they “had a jam with the village elders…”
2) The Serial Shagger
Usually male (and often Australian) the serial shagger is a particularly nasty specimen who is travelling with the sole purpose of screwing as many people as possible.
They’ll be found holding court in the hostel, telling anyone who’ll listen that they just need to meet a Xenia and a Zoe and they’ll have “rooted” every letter of the alphabet. They’ll be incredibly proud of this, and will usually have a book in which they’ve made a note of their “conquests”.
“They just need to meet a Xenia and a Zoe and they’ll have “rooted” every letter of the alphabet.”
Not particularly good looking, and with no discernible charm, you’ll wonder how this moron has managed to bed so many members of the opposite sex. That is until you witness their pulling technique, which involves preying exclusively on the naive, the overweight and the horrendously drunk.
DO SAY… I hope you’ve kept a similar record of your STDs?
DON’T ASK… About the “hilarious” time their mate’s Thai girlfriend turned out to be a man, but they went for it anyway…
3) The Bleeding Heart
Charity is great, but just because you’re volunteering to clean beaches/teach kids/dig longdrops, it doesn’t automatically follow that you are a better person.
The Bleeding Heart fails to grasp this. Typically young, self-righteous and over-privileged, they will smile smugly if you tell them you’re “just on holiday” and then lecture you condescendingly about how their efforts to promote fair trade deodorant or save the termites are “making a real difference.”
“They’ll lecture you condescendingly about how their efforts to save the termites are ‘making a real difference.'”
Of course, despite the “deep connection” they’ve formed with “their” village, they’ll be getting the hell out as soon as their two weeks are up.
DO SAY… Get Ban Ki-Moon on the phone, we’ve got the solution to all Africa’s ills
DON’T ASK… How they square their love of Starbucks with the plight of Ethiopian farmers.
4) The Older Oddball
Some people like to travel alone. These people are not all odd-balls. Far from it. But most of the real odd-balls you meet will be travelling alone.
Usually older, these people are often attempting something admirably crazy that’s kept them away from “home” for years. Like cycling to the North Pole or walking from Pyongyang to Damascus. Naked.
They might have some interesting stories, but they’re just as likely to have zero social skills and a personal hygiene problem. Remember, there’s probably a reason they’re doing this long-winded trip by themselves…
DO SAY… Hiking across the Sahara desert? Sounds dry dude (badum tish!)
DON’T ASK… What they’re running away from
5) The 24-Hour Party Person
The 24-Hour-Party person doesn’t give a shit about local people, local culture, or even what locality he’s actually in – he’s come abroad (to wherever the fuck he is, guaranteed he won’t know) for one reason, and one reason only: To get as fucked up as humanly possible.
He’ll be the one waking up the entire hostel dorm at 6 in the morning as he screams at the “monsters” from that mushroom shake.
“He’s there to get as fucked up as humanly possible.”
He’ll chew your ear off about how many fish-bowl cocktails he consumed the night before, and how great it is that “you know, Thai Red Bull has like actual speed in it.”
DO SAY… I bet you’re glad you flew halfway round the world to dance to the same music they play at home.
DON’T ASK… How the local skunk compares to the stuff they’re used to.
6) The Ticker Offer
Ticker Offers don’t go travelling in search of new experiences, they go to tick off the sights. Armed with a guidebook and a meticulously-planned itinerary (probably plotted on a series of spreadsheets) they will delight in telling you about all the countries, cities and places they’ve “done”, and how little time it’s taken them.
Irritatingly organised, they’ll be up at the crack of dawn packing their bum-bag and safely stashing their travellers cheques in preparation for the hike to the nearest monastery.
DO SAY… I see you’ve got a pair of those trousers that zip off to become shorts. Cool!
DON’T ASK… So where to next on your travels?
7) The Rich Kid Who’s “Found Herself”
Every year, hordes of British public school kids are unleashed on the world in a mass migration only mildly less disruptive than that of the Serengeti Wildebeest – the fabled Gap Yah.
Many of those who head off to Australiah, Indiah or South East Asiah return with their skin covered in meaningless tattoos and their heads filled with a confused mish-mash of Eastern philosophies.
They’ll bang on about everything from Cao Dai to lay lines without understanding any of it, and tell you how they really “found themselves” or “opened up, spiritually” while they were “out there”.
Of course by the time fresher’s week starts they’ll have returned safely to their expensive handbag habits and excessive alcohol consumption.
DO SAY… Have you seen that bit in the Inbetweeners 2 where the pretentious backpackers get called out for talking codshite?
DON’T ASK… About the “amazing” yogi/sensei/charlatan they spent two weeks following…