Archive for February, 2010

33. The Need to Masturbate

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

“Pssst.” No response.

“Pssst. Are you sleeping?” Still no response from the bunk across the room. He’s asleep. It’s go time.

While the need to flush the lovepipes during a long trip may be more urgent to men than to women, I’m sure the ladies must pleasure themselves from time to time in shared-room settings. Whether or not they can be as stealthy doing it, I have no idea. I suppose that means yes, they have been.

Many a real man has admitted to jacking off in the hostel shower (see 20. Getting “wubes”). Makes sense. If you’re traveling with other people, the shower is one of the few moments of “alone time” you get in the day. Although I enjoy that method (particularly if it involves conditioner), I’m simply more of a lie-down masturbator.

And I don’t need to explain how pleasuring yourself is, ironically, more of a selfless act than a selfish one. For me, it’s simply because I am an extremely dangerous person if I try to wait out a wet dream (haven’t had one since 1997). I’m looking out for the safety of others. As Chris Elliott’s character, Woogie, exclaimed in There’s Something About Mary, not “flogging the dolphin” before a big date is like “going out with a loaded gun!”


Discreet self-disarmament, however, can be tricky during group travel. While the scene in American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey spanks his monkey laying beside his sleeping wife, is not farfetched, I wouldn’t recommend it. (Note: Spacey jerks off in the shower too, at the beginning of the film.) And as anybody who’s been in a hostel dorm room with two people fucking in it already knows, some people get drunk and make mincemeat of discretion anyway.

But I continue to hide it and bust my nuts like a ninja when the time is right. I’m a classy guy. What can I say?

It has to be done. The following are reasons why I am a regular chicken choker, especially while traveling:

  • No game. I have no game, so I’m forced to attend to my own needs more than the Don Juan backpacker-types, musicians (esp. acoustic guitarists) or Aussie guys for that matter. I’m OK with that.
  • Plenty of material. Although no hot chicks backpack, you definitely encounter a lot of hot chicks while backpacking (local girls, hot girls staying in hotels, hot girls traveling with their douche boyfriends, etc.) so your mental photo album is bursting at the seams daily. There’s deece everywhere. No game + full spank bank = an overwhelming need to masturbate.
  • Stopped in the red zone. It was a big night. You tried scraping out some semblance of game. You may have been vying to score. You may even have gotten DFMOs. Everything looked good, but she didn’t want to try doing it in the hostel broom closet, her girlfriend dragged her home, etc. Damned if you should go to bed with blue balls!
  • Homesickness/Loneliness. Traveling alone sucks.
  • Insomnia. Traveling alone and not being able to sleep sucks even worse. Plus, skeet-skeeting makes me sleepy.
  • Low self-esteem. Sigh.

And there you have it. Masturbation should be an integral part of your physical and mental health regimen. Absolutely nothing keeps a single, male backpacker as confident, well rested and alert as some good ol’ hands-on therapy. But careful with the bar soap rub-out in the shower. That shit stings like a motherfucker.

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Backpacking in the News

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Link to article: Acoustic Guitar reviews six travel-friendly six-strings (with video)

CD 6panel outside

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32. Poorly Bootlegged/Pirated Movies

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

The rapid recent advancement of multimedia technology has expanded the backpacker market for bootlegged and pirated movies. Devices like iPods and netbooks (and soon the new iPad and tablet PCs like it) have become increasingly affordable, accessible and transportable. As a result, the old bootleg movie has reached a new level of acceptance.

In turn, so the quality of the bootlegs we buy has improved. We’ve come a long way from shaky handycams in the movie theater, with people standing up and blocking the screen (see Seinfeld). Although bad versions like these still exist, it is more possible these days to find a still-in-theaters movie with acceptable sound and picture. Obviously, movies and TV series that are already on DVD are available in high-quality direct replications. A friend of mine tells me that by using a media converter, you can transmit your downloaded material directly to your HD TV and home theatre/stereo components, but that’s for at home. This blog is about traveling.


Experienced travelers are well familiar with the smorgasbord of bootlegged movies and iPod downloads available in Chinatowns around the world. Often, purveyors of such black-market material operate briskly, take your orders using binders of movie covers laid on a collapsable table, with the burnt DVDs delivered like drugs from a stash at a hidden location. In case the police appear, the set-up can be disassembled instantly, with the vendor sometimes taking off running. It’s all for show, really, as the authorities no doubt turn a blind eye to the entire process. I’m sure there are police officers watching bootlegged movies with their families as I write this. Years ago, the corporate film industry, so outraged by their billion-dollar losses due to bootlegging, launched “Buying Bootlegged Movies Is A Crime!” commercials familiar to us all.

With these commercials, the film and recording industries attempt to nurture an ethical conflict within the population, based on a common understanding of copyright infringement and intellectual property rights. Fuck that though, I was copying cassettes and burning CDs without hesitation for decades. For a time, Napster and Limewire were my best friends.

And don’t give me the whole “well, the artist is trying to make a living and illegal downloads prevent him/her from doing so” argument. “What about supporting the artist?” Shove it up your ass, James Hetfield. That argument is so ’90s. The paradigm has shifted. Artists no longer need a record deal to become successful. Drake signed a reportedly multimillion-dollar contract with Young Money after generating fame from mixtapes released online for free. Live Nation is signing the world’s biggest acts now (Jay-Z, Madonna, etc.) because the highest margins are in concert revenue, not CD or iTunes royalties.

But there’s a line to be drawn on the basis of quality. It sucks when you download a shitty version of an .mp3, which sounds crackly or is just too quiet. It’s the same with bootlegged movies. The lack of quality is the price you pay for poaching free, illegal reproductions available before release date, be they albums or DVDs. I embrace the criminal accessibility, but I hate the poor quality. But such is the inevitable cost-benefit equilibrium of any product or service. So the verdict on pirated and bootlegged movies while backpacking? More of a love-hate, I guess. Oh, and I hate people who hate on people who buy bootlegged shit.

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Backpacking in the News

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Sienna Miller Intends to Backpack and Stay in Hostels, Not Expensive Hotels
[More on this topic…]


Former Vegan Becomes ‘Ethical Omnivore’
– Finally caved (gave up on pretending) due to inability to stay off cheese while backpacking in Europe.


Lonely Planet: Country guides on iPhone? Not just yet.
City guides, yes. Country guides, no.
[Here’s what recently brought this to my attention.]


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