On travelling like the Empress of Austria

Sorry it’s been awhile. It can be tough to find time to post when you’re a high flying world traveller. And by high flying, I mean cheap hotels, pinching pennies and busking for money. Damn I wish I learnt another instrument other than a piano. Those things are hard to carry around.

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Anyway.

Been doing a bit of world touring lately, and I just want to get something off my chest.

Fuck I hate tourists.

Loud, fanny-pack wearing, tour-grouping, selfie-stick brandishing tourists with so much self-entitlement you can see it shining through their ironic rayband wayfarers.

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Caught red handed

Yes, I know I’m just part of the problem. But at least I know there is one.

Before passports are handed out, it should be mandatory for them to sit through a class where they learn that travel is a luxury, not an entitlement. Everyone who has the opportunity to go to a place where they were not born should be thanking their lucky stars and in a state of permanent awe and respect for the place they have chosen to go to. Do you think your great great great great grandparents got to do things like this? Probably not, unless they were the Empress of gawd damn Austria.

And, well, if they were…

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Your highness

When travelling, you should aim to leave as little a mark as possible on the environment, to be as kind and gracious guests as your mother raised you, to try and appreciate and value what experiences you are given, and to, most importantly:

Own. 👏 Your. 👏 Shit. 👏

Story time.

We went hiking in Cinque Terre recently, and despite how much I complained about dragging my fat arse up a very very steep hill, it was one of the most beautiful and inspiring walks I have ever done.

Since not only do I hate tourists, but I also hate people, walking a near deserted trail was kind of perfect. I could enjoy the quiet splendour without having to listen to someone else bitching that all the food they could find in Italy was Italian food (actually overheard) or deciding whether Cheryl would look after the bags while everyone else went for a wee swim. But unfortunately, we did not have quiet splendour for the entire trip.

Part way through we run into a gang of very lost Americans. Being the kind hearted kiwis we were, we tried to help. They had lost the trail and we were getting pretty used to following hidden trail markers. However, the Americans eventually just hiked on up the road while we stuck around to determine whether there was indeed something we missed.

There was. A bit of patience, and we were back on the right trail. We looked up the road, but the American group was long gone. Nothing more would have been thought about it, but further on we run into the same group who had the balls to admonish us for not helping them.

“You guys are dicks, you know that.”

Aca-scuse me? Ya what mate?

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I’m not your fucking trail guide.

I’m not your fucking caretaker.

This is my first time on the Cinque Terre. I’m no damn expert.

I have no attachment to you or to your little twelve-year-old friends.

We tried to help you. You just fucked off. If you thought we looked like we know what we were doing, you should’ve stayed with us.

Own. Your. Shit.

Don’t blame someone else because something didn’t go perfectly. If you didn’t do your research and you get lost, that’s on you. If you didn’t translate a sign from the local language to English and didn’t realise you had to validate your train ticket, then get fined for not doing so, that’s on you. If you follow unofficial advice without questioning it, and it doesn’t go according to plan, still your problem. Ignorance is not an absolute defence. You can try and plead it, but it’s not always going to work.

And I am seeing this a lot. Tourists yelling at people in ticketing offices because they left the building and are not allowed back in as the ticket was a one time entry, people being rude to servers because they speak only enough English to take their order, people furious at officials because they didn’t follow a law and are now getting fined for it. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Be respectful. You are probably the one in the wrong, and fair enough too. This isn’t your country, things are different here and you probably just didn’t know. But don’t blame that on the person trying to help you. Own it. Fix it yourself.

Oh, and to the lady who asked me whether the vending machine at the Vienna airport took American dollars:

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Are you fucking kidding me?

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