We all like to think of ourselves as travellers, not (God forbid) tourists. However, I believe we’ve all got to stop being so pretentious.
Hence: it’s time for what I’ve dubbed ‘Bad Traveller Confessions.’
Everyone’s got one – the cheesy photo where it looks like you’re holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A predilection for bum bags. Not learning one word of the local language. As well as bad tourist confessions, we all secretly harbour bad tourist plans – such as planning your first stop in Paris to be EuroDisney instead of the Louvre.
In no particular order, here are mine:
I would like to go on a Contiki tour. I’m yet to do one, and, well, I’ve always looked down on them. I’ve thought that they’re lazy, they’re culturally insensitive, they try to cram in way too much in way too little time, and that the only people that go on them are drunken bogans. But you know what else? A Contiki tour is probably enormous fun. It’s easy. You pay the cost upfront and then only have to worry about incidentals. You’ll meet lots of new people (sure, they’ll probably only Australians, Brits and Americans, but still, new people – and they’re all under 35). You don’t have to worry about how to get from town to town or country to country. Heck, you don’t even have to worry about dinner most nights. You just get on the bus, drink, hop off occasionally, take some photos, drink, eat some dinner, drink and go to bed. Fun with a capital F.
I have eaten McDonalds in a foreign country. It was convenient and I really felt like fries, goddamnit. In my defence, it was in Berlin, a city that McDonalds infiltrated long ago, and it was the end of a long night. I have resisted McDonalds before, notably in Cusco, Peru – but I wasn’t drunk then.
Not right now, because, well, I’m a bit young and I’ve got the Contiki tour to tick off first, but one day I’d like to do a cruise. This is like a coach tour but even worse because you spend the majority of your time in the one place, eating in the same restaurants and sleeping in the same bed. At the same time though, sleeping in the same bed every night is AWESOME. You can unpack everything! Also, no time is wasted during transit because you can use that time to sleep, eat, shop and other important activities. I don’t think I’m quite ready for a cruise yet – I’m a little put off by the age of my fellow passengers. But one day, I’ll be boarding that P & O ship with enthusiasm.
Sometimes, I’m proud to embrace my inner tourist. There’s a place for it. For example, When I was in Rome last year, I did a tour of the Colosseum. I went to the Spanish Steps at midnight and threw a coin into the Trevi fountain. I spent the whole day wandering around the Vatican and St. Peter’s Cathedral (and a lot of time queuing). I ate tonnes of spaghetti and gelato. You know why sites like the Colosseum are popular? Because they’re awesome.
What are your bad tourist confessions?