Sunday, January 20, 2008

Crawl Walk Travel-opedia: Are you a Backpacker?

A dormant backpacker in his natural habit, the shared hostel dormitory 

It may come as a surprise that despite a long history of spreading freedom through surgical military strikes and the surreptitious incitement of civil war, outside of the United States there are still some people that don't speak American.

While shouting loudly and slowly in a poor approximation of the accent of those you are speaking to is the preferred method to permeate any language barrier, even those of us who are fortunate enough to speak the correct language, the revered language of such important figures as Rush Limbaugh and God, sometimes need a little guidance regarding the peculiar vocabulary that has sprung up among the travel set. Thus I have created an enclyclopedia installment as a reference for my fellow travelers and those wishing to live vicariously through them. Read on for todays definition and interactive traveler's quiz.
(read more)

Today's Word: Backpacker

Named for the large sacks carried aloft their backs even when wheeled luggage would be infinitely more practical, these individuals are too restless and lack the personal hygiene to act as productive members of contemporary western society. Thus they beg, borrow and steal to gather enough currency to spend on large quantities of hemp jewelry and toe rings for months at a stretch in exotic lands abroad.

The backpacker can be identified by their greasy or dreadlocked hair, strong odor and typical wardrobe which includes a a tasteless combination of misappropriated fashions from each country to which they have traveled (e.g. kilts, saris, turbans, mukluks, etc.) as well as the ubiquitous t-shirt bearing the logo of the favorite national beer or communist revolutionary.

Typically hailing from countries with strong currency and traveling to developing nations with favorable exchange rates, groups of backpackers can be found in $1-3 guesthouses around the globe where they congregate to drink in excess and complain about the service while carefully making sure to avoid any real cultural or educational experience.

Notice the specimen displayed above engaged in alcohol-induced nude afternoon hibernation.  A typical example of the backpacker, we can see his tasteless tatoos, devil sticks, cheap cigarettes and the essential paisley Converse Allstars, though he is likely barefoot whenever possible. 

Are you a Backpacker?

This quick Q and A session will help you to determine if you are among the tried and true travel set or just a mere vacationer.

1) Have you had conversations about your bowel movements in at least three different languages and/or do you consider the topic of diarrhea within the realm of polite dinner conversation?

2) Have you ever scoffed at the idea of paying more than 1USD for a taxi, beer and/or prostitute?

3) Have you ever knowingly eaten spider, rat, cockroach or dog and, if so, did you go back for seconds?

4) Have you vomitted in five or more countries?

5)Are you currently carrying toilet paper on your person, or conversely have you given up on toilet paper all together?

If you answered yes to at least 1-2 of the preceding questions you are well on your way to breaking into the ranks of the authentic backpacker. You carry hand sanitizer and get excited at the prospect of a western toilet. When you eat chicken you do it with the sadistic hope that it's the one that kept you up all night. Keep up the good work. For continued success try making your next destination a country whose name you cannot pronounce or that has yet to widely accept indoor plumbing.

3-4 affirmitive answers, congratulations, you're officially in the club. You've long since given up on taking malaria pills and showers. If at all, you bathe exclusively in rivers or waterfalls and consistently carry at least four separate currencies. Reward yourself by taking a first class rickshaw to the next city on your list and strongly consider ingesting a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Yes responses to all 5 and you are a hardened backpacker. You've narrowly escaped incarceration on at least three continents and you could teach a doctorate level course on parasitic infections. It's probably time to settle down for a bit, and while you're most likely not welcome back in your home country, find yourself an inexpensive spouse in a place with cheap cocktails, loose morals and no extradition treaties to live out the rest of your days boring children with your myriad stories and photographs.

Don't forget to share your scores (and any related stories) below!


Anonymous said...

I have four yes answers, and I'm on my way to the farmacia.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Does America have an extradition treaty with Columbia?

Anonymous said...

Recovering from many beers drunk last evening, I get 3 YES!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm a four. Are there really any fives out there? That's hardcore.

Post a Comment