On the perils of travel and travel writing

Don’t Go is an anti-travel humor site. I kind of like their chirpy anti-rah-rah spirit (also, I kind of like saying “anti-rah-rah”). Anyway, I wouldn’t have heard of them, except for they asked permission to re-post one of my pieces, an anti-travel screed called Why Travel Sucks. You can find it here on the Don’t Go site, next to cheeful observations about hygienic toilet facilities and helpful riverside signs.

Soon after the piece was published on their site, I received a curious email from a woman named Anka who said a potential volunteer for her international organization bailed out, sending her, as justification, a copy of my piece. Anka continued:

If you do not want to be a stupid American doing stupids thing overseas, became a volunteer and encourage the people who read your article to became one. You, as an American, will do for once a good thing to the earth and do something good for yourself and kill the stupid ‘tourist’ you have inside.

For the record, I hereby encourage you to undertake enlightened travel and volunteer for a good cause.

2 thoughts on “On the perils of travel and travel writing”

  1. 1. While you’re away, your office burned down and your project was cancelled, in that order. Good thing you’re missing the drama. You’ll have a new cube by the time you get back.

    2. You can’t speak the language, so everyone likes you a lot better than they do in America. Bonus!

    3. You wallet buys you immediate respect and friendship. You’re on there for a short while anyway, so the superficiality of your new relationships won’t bother you for long.

    4. No matter how you choose your itinerary, you’ve got an equal shot at the good and the bad. Don’t even bother to try to plan it carefully. The beauty of travel is that you just need to move on if you don’t like where you are.

    5. Americans are disliked the world over, but you can be English if you prefer. No one can tell the difference, in actual fact, unless you are very overweight. If you’re overweight, consider being German.

    6. Tipping is hard to figure out in the best of circumstances, so feel free to lowball to save yourself some spare change, or to highball and see #3 — another person won over by your wallet, despite #5.

    7. The cliched tourism activities of leisurely strolling in museums, having a coffee on a terrace, walking along the Seine on a warm night — wow, what’s wrong with that? Who are you trying to impress, yourself, or someone who’s not on this trip and couldn’t care less?

    8. If you’re prone to embarrassment from new social situations, geez, you need to get out more and loosen up that comfort zone. Travel is your best medicine.

    9. You can’t win at home, so why not plan a trip with a new country every other day? The scenery is always better the next country over. And you can pretend you live there (and there, and then there), and don’t have to work for a living, if you’re really imaginative.

    10. The only person who cares about your last trip is yourself, so better start planning the next one, and stop talking about the last one. You’re even boring yourself, 2 months afterwards.

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