Guilty, guilty, and… guilty!
Don’t hate the traveler, just laugh them off.
Warning: There may be too much –ings for your taste. The scenarios depicted are mere exaggerations to keep certain points in check. Unless they really did happen to you then wham, bam, thank you ma’am!
“WHAT is inside your bag? It weighs like a bag of rocks inside a bag of bigger rocks.”
“I just had to get all those brochures from the tourist desk. We might need them. They even had old Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Moon paperbacks for 50% off. Couldn’t decide so I just bought them all. Oh, and I found some nice complimentary toiletries so I got us three packs each. The other packs didn’t have toothpaste.”
“But we PACKED toothpaste. And we’re only staying here for two days.”
“For next time then. Oh, look, they have some exotic scorpion whiskey over there. I should buy some for the gang back home. Is 10 bottles enough, you think?”
“But we won’t be home for five months!’
Is it excitement that puts constant travelers on the edge when it comes to procuring the weirdest things along the way or is it just the transient loss of rational thought? Hoarding doesn’t only mean amassing viable physical objects. It could mean photos, experiences and even new acquaintances’ contact numbers too.
Why it’s annoying: Not only does this habit flush out your budget for more important things, it can rip your backpack apart as well as your commit your back to the bulk of a hundred elephants. Hoarding photos will, well, annoy the crap out of whoever’s traveling with you.
“So there we were, about to paddle out – “
“Oh, you go surfing too? I don’t necessarily call myself a surfer but I did live around Padang Padang for an entire year and boy, was I sunburned. Had to eat rice and coconuts the whole time too. It got me ripped enough though, pummeling through 3 meter beauties every day – you could say my shortboard got quite the beating. They weren’t anywhere near the breaks in Tavarua though. That’s in Fiji, by the way. Have you been?”
The people listening to THAT guy must be experiencing some form of mild epilepsy what with their eyeballs turned all the way up the back of their skulls like that. THIS guy doesn’t deserve a simple eye roll. HE demands a king-sized slap and a one-way ticket to Mars so he can go one-upping all the extraterrestrials out there. Sorry, Martians, you guys probably never made it to Tavarua either.
Why it’s annoying: If you think this is polite in any way you need to find One-Up Johnny so you can join him in outer space.
Scenario # 1: Imagine that you stopped to ask some random guy armed with a guidebook where the bathroom was and lucky for you, he’s well versed in all the public bathrooms in the city and you spend a good fifteen minutes of intense voluntary bladder control just listening to him give you directions to each one of them until you feel like you just pissed your pants.
See? Not a single period in sight. Oversharing.
Scenario # 2:
“Hi, I just got here. Extremely excited for the first leg of my Southeast Asian trip.”
“Yeah? I’ve been here for a week now. My acne problems did flare up the first couple of days but nothing a good ointment can’t fix. The scabs are starting to heal already, want to see?”
Ugh. Too much information for a first meeting, brah.
I suppose the first scenario is another way to ‘one-up’ with some subtlety. An approach often deployed by one so knowledgeable without the tact of the wise. Scenario two, however, is just stepping over personal boundaries. Stranger comfort is what I call it.
Why it’s annoying: It takes up too much time. It sounds like bragging. It could also lead to certain… details one should not be hearing about. At all.
“Lazy Sunday, huh? Let’s give this baby a little strum.”
“Give it here, man. I know a killer tune. Been playing the guitar even before I could walk.”
“Great. I’ll go make us some pasta. The host said we could use the kitchen any time.”
“Hold it! I know a great recipe. You might want to leave that to me. Let me get this guitar off first.”
Wow, another fine derivative of one-upping in its least obvious form. It could go both ways though: either you end up doing nothing, which is a good thing or you end up doing nothing, which is also a sad thing. Somebody should get THIS guy his own TEDx talk on ‘How to Be the Only Human Being on Planet Earth.’
Why it’s annoying: They can come off as a nice little egocentric know-it-all. Just like everyone else.
“Don’t they have toilet paper? I paid a dollar to use this place!”
“Our dumpsters back home look better than this stupid hostel.”
“No ice for my soda?!”
“The other airline lets me bring my water bottle in the cabin! You should too – are you kidding me?”
“The guidebook says there’s supposed to be a macaron shop here. Where is it? Where the f- is it! Answer meee!”
Yeah, yeah, yeah whatever. Just like that great saying, “Would you like some cheese with that whine?”
Why it’s annoying: Because publicly humiliating them is not an option for a decent person like you. You wish.
Derived from the word ‘alcoholic’. You probably know where I’m getting at. HOLIC-ing is the consumption of different kinds of pleasures in excess while on the road. Yeah, I totally made that up. Take the group of university students lugging their backpacks around for a trip to the deep woods. They’re loud, they’re animated, they look like they’re about to plunge deep into a nature-filled phase of their gap summer. But no, they just want to share an unwarranted amount of alcohol around a camp fire over an insanely loud pair of portable speakers enough to wake the ancient ancestors of the forest only kids on psychedelics could dream of seeing.
A common derivative would be the ‘gizmoholic’.
Why it’s annoying: I suppose it’s fine if you’re not hurting anybody. Or if no one’s around to take part in how obnoxious and particularly douche-y you become while HOLIC-ing. Then again, keep your urges in check, we plead you!
“You’re totally my best friend right now! I know we just met but would you like to trek up the Alta Via 1? I know this epic hiking trail and the weather tomorrow will be perfect – it would be so much fun if you could join me.”
After a great deal of planning, you wake up at dawn the next morning to find that your “best friend” has abandoned bunk and disappeared forever. And ever. And ever.
Such is the bane of travelers constantly on the go. The chance of finding a friend on the road, however temporary, is like discovering a new band worth listening to these days – slight to null.
Why it’s annoying: They keep our hopes up that’s why!
“You look like you listen to reggae a lot too. Do you think Pepper sounds extra good when you’re smoking up? I think so.”
Excuse you? Just because every traveler that you meet has the banana-pancake consuming, straight out of ‘The Beach’ telltale signs to them doesn’t mean everyone has the same agenda. And excuse you some more for thinking that reggae automatically equates to pot.
Yeah, we’ve all been pigeonholed once or twice (or a couple of times if you’re rather the ambiguous kind like me) and even back home it kind of sucks. Some people prefer it that way though. One of the best things about being out in the big wild world is the freedom of anonymity. So what if they think you also graduated from an arts degree back home, know who Jack Kerouac is or have a ukulele in your bag somewhere – it’s not like you’ll be seeing them tomorrow anyway.
Why it’s annoying: Sometimes people will automatically assume you and the slimy moron with the backpack who came in earlier and stole a hammock are one and the same. Too bad for you.
“You get a free breakfast meal with your accommodation.”
“F’real? Think you could sign me up for an extra one? I get real hungry in the mornings and my room’s good for two basically. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you won’t.”
Ah yes. The classic cheapskate. You can’t blame the constant traveler for taking every opportunity to get a discount, or better yet a freebie. The eat-sleep-ride-repeat cycle in their itinerary could take its toll further along in their adventure and THEY KNOW IT.
Money (or lack thereof) has grown into another valuable appendage on our poor distraught freeloader’s body and when spent unwisely could cripple them horribly. If you’re on the other end of their bargaining prowess, you could find yourself either a.) spending for them or b.) getting ripped off.
Why it’s annoying: They seem to have forgotten the old adage, “Nothing in this world is free (or cheap) anymore.” Not only does it bother fellow travelers, it can be downright inconsiderate and demeaning to everyone involved. Oh, and it’s lame too.
“I’ll go for a hike up to the summit later – heard there was a bunjee station set-up. Then will go for a fun dive with some folks I met yesterday after riding out to see the elephants.”
“What? I thought you were going to take the 4×4 to the temples today?”
“Yeah, I’m heading there right now. Will drop by to check the tubing scene first.”
You’d think their trip was physical endurance training for the National Army. Okay, friends, time to draw the line between adventure and lunacy.
Why it’s annoying: Funhogging’s fine. Maybe they just want to squeeze in a little extra out of a short visit. But taking it to extreme levels (let’s bust out the Superman complex now) makes you wonder what they’re trying to prove. And when their plans go haywire, they usually have someone else to blame. Keeping up with these kinds of travelers is exhausting. Livin’ la vida loca indeed.
Fin. Have a lovely day!