“Travel Idiots” is a term I use for those who constantly whine/complain when visiting different destinations. To me, travel is experiencing a different place, a place that is unlike where you are from, a chance to soak up the food, sights, sounds and the little unpleasantness that comes packaged with unfamiliar surroundings. However, if I am traveling with people who are constantly whining about why the place is so different, I scream inside me – “WHY IN THE FIRST F’ing PLACE DID YOU LEAVE YOUR SAD LITTLE SACK TO COME ALL THE WAY TO ROME AND COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT FINDING TACO BELL OR NOT UNDERSTANDING THE SUBWAY SYSTEM?”
People have fears of all sorts of things – monsters, darkness, rapists, serial-killers, earthquakes, heart-disease, fire etc., what I fear the most is being stuck with these Travel Idiots on one of my travels. And when I say travel, I don’t mean that I have to be in an exotic destination, it could be the town in the next state 100 miles from where I live or it could be the North Pole. This creed of whiners will complain about everything:
– They are visiting New York City or any other big city and complain that parking is hard to find or is expensive. My answer to them “Did you not know this beforehand? If you did, why did you not leave your gas guzzling butt ugly mini-van in your fancy suburban house, or if you intend to bring it because of your lazy ass babies then be ready to shell out a hundred bucks for parking or go around blocks a thousand times looking for a spot on the street.”
Public transportation whiners:
– They are visiting San Francisco and complain that the pubic transport system is hard to follow, “It’s so much easier and intuitive in New York City, this is just old fashioned and plain retarded”. To them I say “Can you get to Fisherman’s wharf from where you are standing in your Subway from New York City? So you are stuck with this for now, so while you sit there and criticize to your heart’s content, I am hopping on this slow and rickety cable car, buh-bye!”
– They are visiting Rome in July and are whining about the heat and humidity, I say to them “of all the beauty that is around you, of all the centuries of history residing next to each other or on top of each other, of all the sensual pleasures the city has to offer, you are complaining about the heat? You deserve to be butchered in the Coliseum at the hands of a Gladiator”
– They are visting Asheville or Austin (or some such place that prides itself in allowing only local restaurants to run businesses within its city limits), and are craving for Applebee’s or Pizza Hut and will go to the world’s end in looking for one (yes, there is this group of folks who actually consider Applebee’s as a gold standard in dining experience. More power to them). To them I say – “you should have never left your strip-mall heaven Suburbia, United States”.
– They are visiting Switzerland and complain that they cannot follow directions or restaurant menus – “Is it French? Is it German? How do I know what I am ordering?” To them I say “why come all the way to this Alpine heaven and then want the menus and the food to sound and taste the same as wherever you came from?”
The list goes on and on, you get my drift.
To me the very essence of traveling is experiencing a different place and everything that comes with it – the good, the bad, the ugly; opening myself up to the idea that it will be different; it will not be like whatever I am used to. It could be dirty, it could be clean, I could have a horrendous lunch or a great dinner, you enjoy it regardless – you say “well that was something new…hmmm didn’t know artichokes could be made to taste like feet”. You get lost on a random street 20 blocks away from the museum you wanted to be at, you say “ohh well, let me check this neighborhood out now that I am here”. You see that the only restaurant in the village is serving whatever they cooked that day, you say “let me try this, I am not going to be in rural Greece again, am I?” You want to sleep so bad after a day of exploring Rio, and you come across a street festival on your way to your hotel and decide to stop by and end up spending the night reveling with the locals. Whatever it is, remember you will not be at that place again ever (in most cases)!! You have plenty of time to sleep when you die, I say. For now, travel and wherever you go – be a sponge, soak it up and bring it back with you, it will enrich you in more ways than you can imagine.