Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Travelers can be Douchebags

  How can I fully explain the feeling one gets after countless encounters with self-described "Enlightend World Travelers" (EWT's)?  Well, before I answer that question we must first examine the 'twentysomething' world explorer.  Explorers of the past ventured were few people dared.  They saw what few from their homeland would ever lay eyes on.  Our 'twentysomething' EWT wants to associate themselves with these past Explorers.  They feel a connection with the past... they are searching for a unique path... the unexplored waterway... They want to be the first to leave their mark in a foreign world.  I feel that the EWT wants to feel important in their explorations and not just gain self-enlightenment but also general praise from people who dare not venture past the castle walls.  Their desire to become the center of attention, their elongated prose about their awesomeness utterly stifels the air in any room.  Travel no longer becomes about experincing new cultures and gaining a better understanding of the world as a whole... it morphs into an egotistical resume builder in which every stamp in your passport increases your value against less traveled people.
  I have no problem with people sharing their experiences.  I rather enjoy hearing peoples stories.  Most people I run into are good quality people.  But the EWT scoffs at others experiences... They were there first, they saw it before you, their experience was more real and exponentially more enlightening than yours.  The general douciness of that trian of thought, the ignorance in their eye-rolling makes me want to head-butt them in the nose, throw an elbow to their throat and then ask them how that experience was!  Enlightening I hope.
  There are many English speaking teachers/travelers from every corner of the English speaking world here in Korea.  But there is something strange about coming across them in the streets... they won't make eye contact or even acknowledge your presence half the time.  It is if seeing another person from their native tongue is ruining the experience for them.  The analogy I used with my friend was, "An astronaut rockets to Mars only to find a colony of humans already inhabiting the area."
  If these EWT's were truly enlightend they'd have gained a little humility in their travels and learned how to interact with people.

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