Though none of us seemed to notice (aside from a few travel writers in their mid-to-late-30s), at some stage in the recent past, it became impossible to travel the world and still enjoy yourself. I was quite surprised when I read the first article describing this awful phenomenon, though as I began to see more and more of these articles, posts and photomontages with the generic, terrible backing music, it became clear that not only was this a world-wide disaster, but it has been caused by…well…everything.
So as a tribute to the apparently lost age of travelling and still enjoying one’s self, I have put together a top-10 list of the things responsible for the demise of travel…
- Young People – Yes, we are talking about YOU, person who is younger than whoever wrote the article, you are RUINING TRAVEL, you selfish, childless, blatant user of disposable-income. How dare you have fun while you travel! More mature people who’s bodies can no longer have the kinds of fun you are having demand that you stop all of this fun immediately so they can go back to pretending that getting old isn’t incredibly depressing.
- Travel Guides – All of our once hidden, untouched cultural oases have been invaded by thousands of tourists! TOURISTS! When WE arrived in [insert backwater location here] back in [insert year when article author was still young], it was so beautiful, so quiet and the locals were so nice. We spent two weeks just drinking huge amounts of cheap booze and sleeping in these amazing mud huts, but now all of you TOURISTS have destroyed the place! The locals have built actual bars and hostels, the mud huts have been closed to the public because TOURISTS destroyed them – these wonderful, sacred, mud constructions destroyed by TOURISTS! Some people just don’t respect local traditions when they travel! I’m just glad I kept a piece of the wall from the mud hut I stayed in before it was all destroyed.
- Digital Photography – It is so ridiculous that people would spend all the money to travel overseas just so they can look at a screen showing a picture of the scenery around them. With digital cameras now coming with resolutions only just higher than the human eye can actually see, how could you consider spending the 4 seconds taking a photograph of something amazing such that you can enjoy the memory forever? You could spend those 4 seconds continuing to observe what you’ve already seen with your low-resolution eyes, storing the data in your unreliable memory, then going on to completely forget every aspect of what you just saw because your tent was too cold, you didn’t get any sleep and that ends up being the best story from your trip! YOU IDIOT WITH THE CAMERA! HOW COULD YOU?…Shit, where was it we saw that tree growing upside-down from the cave-mouth?…You know – when that lion was having sex with the aardvark? Dammit, if only we hadn’t left the camera in the truck…
- Mobile (Cell) Phones (& Social Media) – Wait. What? Phones? Yes – phones…oh wait – no, what they really mean is “social media on mobile phones” – aaaaah. You see instant information, instant news, instant reports of weather, conditions and traffic are just some of the wonderful benefits of social media which we use every single day. But don’t get the idea that providing instant feedback, reports or photographs of your travel destinations is allowed – oh no. Don’t you dare spoil our trip to the untouched wilderness of Phuket by chatting to your friends on Facebook – WE want to talk to you and we can hardly do that if you’re on your phone! We are lonely! Talk to us! *sob* You have to go and buy a proper film-based camera in some outer-suburban pawn shop, then take a maximum of 2-3 photos per day (see #8), then record your experiences only on paper (preferably with a quill and inkpot) or you will corrupt the very fabric of travelling if you’re constantly on your phone. Being constantly buried in a notebook or faffing with reels and reels of film is far more social. These “phone” devices along with their demon-spawn the “social media” are the devil. Not only to they allow people to communicate wherever they are, they allow people to send photographs of wherever they are to whomever they want! It is the end of life as we know it (including travel).
- The World Wide Web – OK, so you see it’s not just Twitter, Facebook, Renren or whatever other generally unused social media tool you accidentally signed up for – it’s actually the entire Web. It’s you, Google; it’s you, bloggers; it’s you, vloggers; it’s you, podcasters; it’s you, Internet porn stars – you are all responsible for ruining travel. Curse your free political debate, cake-decorating demos, makeup tips and nude selfies! YOU have turned Budapest into an overpriced, gentrified, Europe-based theme park! I HOPE YOU’RE SATISFIED, NOMADIC MATT!
- The Internet – Jesus, are you serious? Not just digital cameras, not just social media, not just the web – but the Internet itself is responsible for ruining travel. What the did email do wrong? What, was filesharing responsible for this too? Why not? What the hell? I mean filesharing has single-handedly bankrupted every major media corporation in the world *ahem* let’s blame it for ruining travel too. Oh I see, no – it’s Google again. Google has ruined travel. Again. Thanks, Google, now when I arrive at Machu Picchu, I’ll already know where the loos are – how can I ever tell the story of when I had to pee with the llamas at Machu Picchu!?! SO inconsiderate.
- Technology – OK, why the hell not? I mean if digital cameras, social media, mobile phones, the web and the Internet are all ruining travel, why not just ALL technology? The next point is likely to be Reading Glasses or something.
- Natural Disasters – You heard it here first: holidaying in the midst of an earthquake isn’t as fun as holidaying with no earthquake. Of course, given that we still cannot predict most natural disasters with any degree of accuracy (and hence hundreds of thousands of people still die as a result of natural disasters around the world each year), planning for them and paying insurance companies huge sums of money can make it all OK. Oh who am I kidding – PEOPLE DIE IN NATURAL DISASTERS your holiday is the least of everyone’s worries.
- Australians – ‘ckn oath. These useless bastards are simply bags of beer and ignorance. Every locale to which they travel turns into some sort of Australiafied ghetto of heavy drinking, thongs (the footwear), big hats, singlets, (apparently) poached eggs and those really racist flags…what were they originally for again? Oh that’s right – it used to be the country’s national flag before people with lower IQs than common house flies decided it was the emblem of cultural intolerance. *
- Humans – Yes, Ms. literate Orangutan, you are the only one reading this who need not hang your head in shame. In fact, you can probably count yourself lucky that your natural habitat was bulldozed to make way for a few million more palm (oil) trees because if we didn’t bulldoze it, guaranteed some unwashed, mid-20s extreme tourist would have written up a blog post about how beautiful and untouched the jungle around your home was. Before you know it your virgin jungle home becomes a neo-tourist trap complete with 2,500 wide-eyed tourists a day, a marquee bar, 2 coffee vans and free wireless internet. Then there’d be protests and riots among the locals, the tourism industry would be ruined and the whole area would be turned into landfill. At least you learned to read.
* In all seriousness, not all Australians are horrid, racist, intolerant, culturally ignorant drunks. Many of us are very nice, culturally inclusive, open-minded drunks.