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Lately I’ve been crossing paths with this special kind of breed, and chances are you’ve rubbed rucksacks with them too! They are infamously known as the Travel Wanker ladies and gents – or TW for short – and they’re coming to a town near you!
These people are a shining beacon of pretentious travel masturbation and they make me want to barf. Since when did travelling the globe become an extreme sport? I certainly didn’t get the memo. This previously mild and non-competitive pastime is now as stratified as a World Cup Soccer match complete with ranks, rules and ruthlessness. To the TW, travel always has a clear winner. If you paid twenty-five bucks to use a local resort gym then you are a LOSER but if you scaled the fence and settled in unnoticed by the pool then you won the GOLD MEDAL!
Not to be confused with the harmless cultural traveller, the Travel Wanker adds a certain type of arrogance to their all-immersive adventures, made particularly obvious when relaying dramatic tales of travel woe and bliss. You see, a TW is the only authentic traveller roaming this interesting sphere we call Earth. Never mind cultural immersion – that’s still for the “tourista masses” among us. No the TW is different still, they are the ones who know what it’s like to actually become someone from a different country; much like ‘method acting’, they have lived and breathed being a hobo in Rio and danced a tribal jig in Africa and as such, are the only special few who truly understand the nature of travel.
A TW’s main aim in life is to make your experiences feel inadequate. To them, you are a mere travel mortal and they must remind you of this wherever and whenever possible. They will constantly try to one-up you. You volunteered in Ethiopia and built some huts for poor kids but they started a charity to build them lots of schools. You went trekking in Tibet but they met the Dalai Lama. You get the gist.
In short, anything you can do, TW can do better.
A conversation with a Travel Wanker goes a little something like this (courtesy of Wondering Why):
YOU: Hi, nice to meet you! Where are you from?
TW: Originally I am from blah-blah, but I fancy myself a nomad and traveler.
YOU: Oh really? Where was your last stop?
TW: I just left Southeast Asia.
YOU: Really? Us too! We loved it there! The people were amazing…
TW: Did you go to Burma?
YOU: No, we didn’t have time.
TW: Oh MY GOSH, it’s like you didn’t even GO to Southeast Asia! Burma is amazing. It is so unspoiled. I got off the beaten track myself, [and visited] all sorts of undiscovered places before they become mainstream and touristy. I always go where the locals go.
YOU: We hope to go in the future.
TW: Humph. Well, anyway, I am an avid traveler, where else have you been?
YOU: Um, well, last year we went to Ireland.
TW: Ireland, yes! I have been there. And Scotland, and England, and Iceland. Everywhere up in that corner of the world. You?
YOU: No, we have only been to Ireland.
TW: Oh, that’s too bad, you really missed out. By the time you get up there it won’t be the same, it will be all touristy and ruined. Anyway, last year when I was in Borneo at this Orangutan rescue organization…. blah, blah , blah….which was after I backpacked through Malaysia…..blah, blah, blah.