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Posts Tagged ‘Buddhism’

Backpacking in the News

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Link to article: What Type of Backpacker Are You?

matt-from-boston1

That's Matt, in Australia

This article was originally posted to Nomadicmatt.com in July 2009 by Matt from Boston, a self-professed travel junkie.

Some things I like about Matt (from his About Me page):

  • His favorite country is Thailand and his favorite city is Amsterdam. Both solid choices.
  • He’s down with buying bootlegged movies on the street in Asia.
  • Everything he owns fits into one bag. Very Clooney, on Up In The Air!
  • He hates people who brag about travel. “(They) are insecure and aggravate me,” he writes.
  • He wishes he had a better ear for languages. Don’t we all.
  • He doesn’t have a strong desire to go to China. I’ve also felt this way.

13. Vegetarians

Friday, June 19th, 2009

“I don’t go around promoting beef or poultry, shoving it in people’s faces. I don’t castigate people for eating steak sandwiches… I’ve seen some of you herbivores and if you wanna argue health, y’all need to eat some kinda supplement.” - Immortal Technique, “Beef and Broccoli” (Album: Revolutionary Vol. 1)

Eschew McDonalds if you want. I don’t care. But if you go traveling and some poor local family invites into their home and they offer you some food with meat in it, eat it. The head of the household works his/her fingers to the bone at some despicable multinational factory for that protein, so you better eat it. Their family doesn’t shop at Whole Foods and they certainly can’t afford GNC supplements. Besides, if you’re so open-minded, you should check your prejudice at the door and try something new, right?

Still, if you insist on being a vegetarian, don’t tell me it’s for the damn animals. Unless you’re a hard-core, badass vegetarian living in a treehouse in the middle of a forest somewhere waiting to eat the apple that falls off the tree, you’re using animal products. I saw you eating gummi bears the other day and last I checked, those shoes aren’t hemp. Your necklace is though.

But it’s the preachiness of it all that kills me. Backpackers are huge preachers. And most preachers are hypocrites. Even Martin Luther King had a fling on the side. Just do your thing. I won’t attack you. But don’t attack me when I’m elbow deep into a rotisserie chicken.

Part of being a backpacker is being broke. Making the most of a tight budget. You don’t sleep in hostels by choice; it’s out of necessity. Desperate times call for desperate measures: I’ve had to cut down my meat intake when I was traveling and strapped for cash. It sucked. As soon as I could eat meat again, dude, I was on it.

Maybe it’s a fashion statement. After all, it goes well with your whole backpacker motif: hemp necklace, cargo shorts, Birkenstocks, dreadlocks (or even worse, white girls with corn rows - they end up lookin’ like Sprewell), book about Buddhism in your bag and Ben Harper/Jack Johnson albums on your iPod.

Here’s a story for you:  A reformed vegetarian, Jack Johnson now serves as an important role model to backpackers everywhere. Apparently there is still hope for clued out hippies. “If anybody invites me over, I eat whatever they serve,” he said. See? He figured it out. It wasn’t worth all the pretending.

12. Tattoos About the Place

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

angelinaFew things capture the paradox of backpacker pretense better than tattoos. Every year, thousands of young travelers try desperately to be original only to end up behaving like everyone else. Getting a tattoo of a place you’ve visited is sort of like wearing American Apparel. It was cool and unique when nobody was doing it, but soon enough it got played out (see Nice but ubiquitous hoodie).

Ah, tattoos. So youthful and rebellious. Such a ballsy move to paint oneself with permanent artwork. And when backpackers sport a dope tat from their sojourn overseas, well that’s a backhanded beenou my friends. Go ahead, ask them what it means or better yet:  where they got it. Before you know it, you’ll be witnessing the eruption of Mt. St. Beenou.

A few backpacker tattoos to ponder (combinations of the below options may also exist):

  1. Plants and wildlife. Take, for example, a simple dolphin or whale tail. Countless girls have fallen victim to bad ink (see Megan Fox) and a common precursor is a fond and lasting encounter with porpoises off the coast of [Insert tropical dolphin inhabited place here]. Female backpacker Type A suffers terribly from the above Backpacker Tattoo Syndrome (BTS).
  2. Traditional/tribal tattoo styles. Thai bamboo style tattoo. Anything Maori. It looks fucking cool. Surfers rock it so it must be, right? Don’t forget that Mike Tyson has one on his face. If you wanna pull an Angelina, go adopt a kid from Vietnam.
  3. Foreign writing. I’ll be the first to admit that Sanskrit, Arabic and Farsi look awesome. But not if you’re a white boy from Idaho. You end up looking like that dad wearing the “My Sister Went to the Bahamas and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” shirt. Speaking of t-shirts, you may be aware of t-shirts from Japan and Taiwan printed in senseless English (e.g. Happy So Much!). The meaning is lost in translation. Yeah well, that “Carpe diem” you got in Chinese characters is just as meaningless (e.g. Grab Time) to the average Chinese person.
  4. Pretend spirituality. Buddhist, Taoist and vegetarian symbols are common offenses.
  5. Carpe diem. Cliches are excellent ways for backpackers to express their originality.
  6. Nationalistic beenous. On the topic of cliches, Canadian backpackers often have tattoos of Canadian flags or maple leaves. These are as cliche as the Canadian flag patches on their backpacks.
#1-2 combo.

#1-2 combo.