vendredi 28 septembre 2007

Travelling for free

I gradually became fed up with a new « literary » fashion, consisting for a guy to write about how he went on a journey across several continents with almost no money.
It seams that everybody finds this swell, how interesting an experience for young people, how nice to be travelling by bike, hitch-hiking, getting closer to the real life, sleeping in the people’s houses, yadda yadda yadda, what a great Adventure.

But what have we here? One or two youngsters from wealthy families (and let me stop you right there: any kid from Europe or the States is from a wealthy family compared to a poor family in, say, Bolivia) are travelling for free at the expense of the people from a number of poor countries.

They are invited to share the meals and accommodation of those oh so generous inhabitants of the Third World. They are discovering that they are not savages after all, but good, noble, honest, hard working, open minded, even fun-loving people. They are eating their chapattis, drinking their milk, crowding their huts and maybe even kissing their sisters, abusing their “traditional hospitality”.

They have a jolly good time, and then they come back home to write a book titled “Around the World on 2 Dollars a Day!”, or “I Left Home with 50 Bucks and Came Back Two Years Later!”.

Those books will contain some useful information for the next gringo to try and do the same, like “Hitch hiking is very common in the Andes, every car passing by will stop to offer you a lift”. Of course, that’s because the next bus is four and a half days from now, and the girl sitting next to you is nine months pregnant and would like to have her baby in the city. But then, why don’t you take your dollars and rent your own fucking car so you can drive another pregnant woman/sick child/exhausted elderly into town?

Normally people are paid to transport your sorry ass and feed your big mouth and clean your sheets abroad, and the whole operation is called the tourism industry. So are the poor countries, on top of all the calamities they have to endure, obliged to support and entertain our bored children for free? No, and if somebody somewhere gets upset and kills a bunch of them, we will hear the outcry and the old “no place is safe” tune. Well they could eat them, for all I care, maybe that would put an end to this annoying fashion.

In the end, some of those guys will manage to make good money out of their travelling journal, book, site, blog or whatever. I fervently hope that they are giving back this money to all the people whose balls they’ve been breaking along the road. Because if not, like we say in spanish, deveria caerles la cara al suelo de la verguënza: their face should fall to the floor from the shame.

1 commentaire:

  1. You damn right, I prefer 5-star hotels as well.