16 Sep 2011

Grades of traveller - a few observations

We are now approaching the end of the 6th week of this trip and we have met many peeps along the way, most of whom have an interesting story or two - here are a few observations...

Tourists - In these parts they don't really step out of the airconned bubble of aeroplane airport taxi hotel private/hotel beach, tour bus to Mayan ruin, bus back to hotel bar/restaurant, back to the airport, home. They pay for everything in US dollars whatever the country, trample through the ruins/sights where they shouldn't, speak too loudly about nothing much and wear a target on their foreheads that says 'Please take me for everything that is in my wallet/handbag/bum bag/bank account...'

Tourist Traveller - Tourist travellers have just left the air-conned reservation and are proud to have done so.  Their traveller shorts/trousers (zipped at the knees) still have the hint of a crease down the front, their shirts/t-shirts still smell of lenor and their well shaved/waxed faces/armpits/legs are still trim as a trim thing. The guide book is their best friend, camera their weapon of choice but they still can't sleep on the overnight bus.

Gap Year Traveller - The GYT's (pronounced 'g-i-t' in case there was any doubt) travel in packs of 5 or more, their main item of luggage is a keg of beer, the last personal hygiene focussed washing session (swimming in the sea does NOT count!) was....hmmmm just before A levels/graduation ceremony/military service? and when asked 'occupation?' on the immigration form they respond 'hell i dunno, that's what this trip was supposed to be all about man, self discovery...peace maaan, and dond'esta el bagno?'

Traveller - knackered rucksack and/or hair, gave up on the timberland sandals ages ago (havaianas are a la mode whatever the weather) big smile all the time especially when they meet someone new (or is it the side effects of too much peyote), lost the guide book in country 2, been on the road for at least 3 months but not always sure where, severely the best tan in the building, have 3 or more stories of being mugged/robbed/asked for a donation to the cause and surviving to tell the tale (death would just mean slipping down to tourist class) and in moments of clarity admit to dreaming of an air-conditioned room, mini-bar, sports channel and the oh so sweet aroma of spring fresh lenor...

Right now we are still mainly tourist travellers on an extended trip but elements of 'traveller' are beginning to develop, and not just the attraction of the mini-bar!


  1. It's not about the footwear, the luggage, personal hygiene, or even the availability (or not) of a/c in your room ...it's a state of mind thing.

    That said, you'll know you've entered the ranks of the truly hardened traveller when you are surprised to wake up in the same bed two mornings in succession, and you think nothing of waking up in a bus seat (or back of a lorry) several mornings in a row.

    ...When you are able to hold your own with the locals when discussing the 'futbol' and intimate lives of the telenovelas stars, you'll know you've truly gone native.

    Until then, I'm looking forward to following your ongoing adventures.


  2. Black, White and Shades of Grey...

    At least I hear that's what happens in the absence of Lenor...

    Much Love to the Both of you and keep the top quality commentary flowing!