Breaking news: Backpackers like to party!
Duh Kellie, we all know that. What’s your point?
Don’t get me wrong, I like to party too. To an extent, it’s a part of the backpacker allure. It’s acceptable to be kind of a dirtbag and drink tall boys from a paper sack. You don’t need to convince me of a certain awesomeness in that. I’m a lush, and I’m a bartender. This scene is a big part of my existence.
I’ve bought a $14 shot of Jameson at an airport before just so I could cheers my sister and cousin via video chat for some reason. *Reaches for whiskey cocktail* For some reason though, while I was traveling in Thailand, the party scene kind of bothered me. Judgmental much
Just bear with me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but basically, sometimes I just had squeamish moments thinking of what the backpacker dream was becoming. And who the hell was even going to remember it?
Everyone moved so quickly, (well except before noon.) And by the afternoon, it seemed like a mark of success to who had finished a bucket of booze first. I would settle in to a place and meet people here and there and it was like more often than not, they had arrived the day before and were leaving the next day and who sells the cheapest buckets? Jesus. Is this a marathon?
I understand sometimes you have a time frame. Not everyone can run away for months at a time or not everyone wants to. I get that. Let loose, man. And by all means, do not let me stop you from partying. That’s how some of my most interesting adventures have begun. At a bar, toasting strangers and forming friendships. I’m just tossing out some food for thought over here.
When did backpacking become synonymous with spring break?
My senior year in college, I attended spring break in South Padre. Half as a joke, half to get it out of my system maybe? I went with two girl friends before we parted ways after graduation. It was a shit show of a blast. Pretty much just what you’d expect. However, I don’t want to relive that every time I travel. My body doesn’t want that. My ability to remember things isn’t a fan either. My pride could stand to be spared as well…
Time flies when you’re drunk. Why not slow it down a notch? Take a minute to look around and see what the equivalent to stopping to smell the roses is. Then smell them, don’t muddle them and throw that into a cocktail. Well, actually, on second that, do muddle that cocktail, it sounds delicious. But do you get my point?
Lack of regular purchase of alcohol takes a big part in my budget. In Thailand, one could drink semi cheaply but in reality, it added up to being about the same cost as in parts of the US by the end of the night. (I can get hammered for about 15 bucks in my college town in Oklahoma, including tip.)
Then the cost of the western hangover meal of a hamburger and french fries you need the next day, coming in at around 6x as much as a plate of pad thai from a street cart. That shit adds up before you can say, ‘Shots!’
Skip the bars 3 or 4 nights a week. Think about what you’re spending and where it could get you. Stretch your dollars. This is budget travel 101.
Travel to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
That’s a big part of the point, right? Expand your horizons. Gain a more worldly perspective. Etc. Well then, push yourself to feeling the atmosphere of a place and it’s people without hindering your receptors 100% of the time.
It’s okay if you feel awkward. From someone who is incredibly awkward most of the time, I promise, you’ll survive. Individuals of different backgrounds becoming vulnerable to each other in the right circumstances is part of the process of building bridges and tearing down walls.
So hold your horses on the mojito and let’s build some bridges. Then we make mojitos. For everyone. All over the world. And we cheers in hundreds of different languages. Doesn’t that sound like a mojito worth waiting for?
“Better far off to leave half the ruins and nine-tenths of the churches unseen and to see well the rest; to see them not once, but again and often again; to watch them, to learn them, to live with them, to love them, till they have become a part of life and life’s recollections.” – Augustus Hare
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