The original title was: If this is your attitude, I need you to take several seats. But I opted to be a bit more civil. Ha!
I’ve read somewhere that travelling opens your mind. I don’t agree with that statement. I don’t think that hopping on a plane will magically make a person more accepting of others and respectful of their culture. Getting into a new time zone doesn’t guarantee a new attitude.
I’m not perfect. I still have to check my privileges, pay close attention to my biases and preconceived ideas. What I say, I’m a work in progress. At the same time, I can be a bit judgemental about other people’s behaviour. This is one of these posts where I’ll be judgemental, but I’ve chosen to disguise it as a rant so that I can sort of get away with it. *wink*
To be clear, I respect everyone's choices and travel styles. This post is more about behaviours that I don't particularly condone and that aren't compatible with my personality/travel style. I am well aware that people may find my low-key, cheap and experience-driven style of travel annoying, uneventful and lame. And that's OK.
(Oh! I've inserted rap lyrics for each type. Let me know if you think they're accurate. And do suggest more accurate ones!)
The travel snob
Sit down and be humble. *in my best Kendrick Lamar voice*
You've met that person. She's that lady who doesn't understand why everyone doesn't have a passport. He's that nice man you met at the party (well...he seemed nice at first) who decided to let you in on a secret: you haven't lived if you haven't travelled. They are all about collecting stamps. They may or may not realize how classist they sound. They may or may not care about sounding/being classist.
In another post, I wrote that when it comes to experiences it's hard, if not impossible, to one-up other people. The travel snobs make a liar out of me. They will always try to explain how their experience was better than yours.
Travel snobs are annoying and obnoxious. They're the last ones you want to tell about your latest trip because their only goal will be to make you feel bad about not visiting that particular museum/city. Your trips are OK, but never as good as theirs. They create rules such as "spending less than 24 hours in a city doesn't count" and "one should have X number of stamps to be considered a serious/real world traveller". I've always wondered... Who makes these rules? Why should I abide by them? Ugh!
And don't think for a second that they don't take that attitude with them when they're travelling. They are often annoying and obnoxious. Ever met that tourist who refers to the Louvres and the Guggenheim every chance they get while visiting an art museum in another country? Snob alert!
And, once again, for the people in the cheap seats in the back: the number of stamps in your passport just means that you've travelled a lot. It doesn't make you better than anybody else.
The constant complainer
Stop. Drop. (And I may use other not so friendly words from DMX.)
Martha complains about the weather: it's always too hot or too cold. She doesn't like that locals ask for money. (She seems to always forget that, in her hometown, the streets are full of people who beg too.) She's frustrated that people don't seem to be happy to see her. The local dishes are either too spicy or too bland. She often wonders why "these" people don't eat "normal" food. And, boy, does she miss home. Because, as you know, back home everything is better. She's OK with travelling thousands of miles away from home, but she expects to find home abroad. Don't think a resort will do the trick. No ma'am. She'll complain about the music, about the temperature of the ocean and about the other patrons being weird. One thing you can be sure of is that she'll always find something to complain about.
By day two, she'll get you wondering why she spent her hard earned cash to be here. Don't be surprised if she prefers to stay in the hotel room or the apartment watching TV. She may have travelled for the sake of getting a stamp on her passport.
Don't be like Martha.
If for some reason you are, do me a favour: don't invite me to go on a trip with you. If I'm the one who asks, feel free to decline. We may be cool and all, but we won't survive a day together on foreign soil or on a road trip.
On a trip, one should have a daily quota of complaints, in my humble opinion. Two, nothing more. Preferably one in the morning and one at night. If you want to squeeze in a third one, be philosophical about it or turn it into a rant.
The roll-out-the-red-carpet traveller
They are ready to make it rain like Lil' Wayne, and everyone in a 10-mile radius know that.
They're the flashy traveller. And being around them make me antsy. Because safety issues.
Their expectations are high. They demand rather than ask. They chastise rather comment. I particularly don't like going to restaurants with them because you never know how an annoyed waiter will react.
I may have low standards. Or maybe I don’t fully know my worth as a tourist. But I don’t go in someone’s country expecting them to treat me as a queen just because I landed on their soil. I don’t think people owe me more than respect and basic decency. Being treated like royalty is a bonus, not an obligation.
That being said. Hotel staff, your Airbnb host, folks in the service industry, etc. do have to uphold a certain standard of service. But if you expect random people to treat you like royalty...*insert eye rolls*
To be noted, the notion of customer service varies by culture as well. True story. My friend, who’s from Brazil, always complained about customer service in Canada. She found it lacking. I didn’t really get why until I went to Brazil. If you go to my hometown, PauP, you may be in for a surprise. We have a skewed notion of customer service. Depending on where you go, what language you speak and how you present yourself, it may be inexistent.
The faux philanthropist
They've got 99 problems, and generosity ain't one.
They are "woke". They donate, recycle a and are overall good people. They see poverty and want to do something about it. Their intentions may be good, but their approach, not so much. But, they travel to third-world countries to "save people", "do their share".
I've heard of travellers going to Cuba and being very frustrated by the locals unwelcoming (and somewhat ungrateful) attitude. *Insert a long, loud sigh* They bring stuff with them with the intent to distribute to the people there because Cubans are poor. *eye roll* They proceed to distribute said stuff to random people in the street. *even louder sigh* Then they manage to get offended when people refused said stuff and asked for money instead.
This is offensive on so many levels.
Level 1: How do you go about stopping random people and offering them stuff? They don’t know you! How do you know that they need the things you brought with you? How are you allowed to be offended when they turn you down?
Level 2: The people basically told you I don’t need the stuff, but since you seem to want to help money is what I really need. Poverty shouldn’t remove one’s agency. If your objective is to be helpful, let people tell you what they need.
Level 3: This behaviour is so first-world! I get it that the intention was to be helpful. But this is no way to treat people. We need to stop doing this. And by this I mean treating other people as lesser-than. I say “we”, but I mean “you”. “We” sounds less judgemental.
Did I forget any other type of annoying type of traveller? What attitudes and behaviours don't really sit well with you? Join the conversation on Facebook!