There’s a tendency to get a little carried away; you’ve on an extended break, you’re hanging with strangers, you’re introducing yourself on a regular basis.
You’re waxing lyrical with your profession – it’s no longer communications, but writing – and you have turned your holiday into a meaningful and mindful crusade – a chance to just be, to get away from it all, to recentre and find out who you really are.
You’ve become a wanker.
Without those who act as our moral and shit-talking compasses, it’s easy to get carried away.
I remember one of my friends describing her partner as ‘cool traveller’ because he didn’t like to rush and never arrived at an airport early.
The name has stuck with me and as the GL and I journeyed to England overland, we had the pleasure of meeting a few.
The first we came across was looking after a hostel in a Japanese ski village.
She had an awful, phlegm-filled cold, a bark on her like a banned dog, a dripping nose and (as far as I could tell) an aversion to tissues.
She was carrying an awkward weight gain, a boastful pride in her poverty and ability to source cheap alcohol and had an injury she was all keen to discuss.
She was cool, man.
The next, and probaby my favourite in hindsight, was living the life in Europe and we ran into him on two separate occasions.
He was doin’ mad shit because, you know, YOLO, and bound for a party hostel in Hungary where he was going to hold court over the less-travelled and uninitiated backpackers. He had a bad tattoo on his calf, was wearing his trainers everywhere – just like the locals – and was keen to tell us where he’d slept the night before.
He was hilarious and one night I got drunk enough to tell him why. He took it very well.
After pondering the two, I thought I’d share with you some of the stand-out traits possessed by the cool traveller and a little list of the things you only do when travelling.
- Wear an anklet
- Put on a lot of weight, fast
- Scoff at those who work 9 to 5
- Reference visiting a country as ‘that time I spent in ….’
- Wear pants made from poor quality material with absurdly low hems
- Drink beer at 11am
- Keep a journal
- Refer to your time on a coast (any coast) as a period of self-reflexion
- Tell anyone who will listen that you’ve been there but you did stay off the beaten track
- Wear stupid hats, that are cheap and look cheap
- Go fishing
- Use zinc
- Wear thick head scarves
- Mark your body with something you will regret later
- Play cards
- Take photos of old men smoking cigarettes
- Wear loud prints and tell yourself you will wear it when you return home
- Buy tourist paraphernalia and think it will look good in your home
- Refer to one’s friends by their country of origin, for example: ‘my Danish friend’, ‘I went bungy jumping with my Brazilian best mate’, ‘that was when I was in Thailand with a group of Swedish men’
- Make plans to travel the east coast of Australia upon your return home
Please note: multi-coloured beanie available to good home, bought in Stockholm, worn in Estonia, ready to discard now in London.
Can you add to the list? Interested to hear your thoughts on things you’ve done and seen while travelling, which you would not do at home.