The “Rich Kid” Backpacker

There will come a time on your journey when you will inevitably encounter the rich kid backpacker. They stand out from all the rest with their frivolous nonchalant plans, and their primarily objective is either getting laid or attending every major festival or circuit party from Abu Dhabi to Zimbabwe. Theirs goals and intentions are much different then the average backpacker often leaving out cultural immersion and experiences and replacing it with passport stamps and broads. They seem to blend in at first backpack and all, but just from speaking you can tell that them and their itineraries are different.
I write this blog-post with intention because I think it is important to know the types of people you will come across on your journey. While some like myself are looking for the full cultural immersion and would do just about anything like eating a quail fetus (I do not condone this practice however I was forced into it in Vietnam), to taking boats and buses across islands, while some others are looking to slowly introduce themselves into a new culture, and some are just here to party. They define countries based on their parties and are on a mission to concur them all. Basically they are on some major circuit party world tour (which there is nothing wrong) and want to live it up.
But then there comes the rich kid backpacker. Who claims that they are “backpacking through Asia or Europe or Australia” or the sorts, when in reality they may have their over-sized backpack with them, but also their personal travel agent sitting with a MacBook every step of the way to finalize itineraries, book hotel rooms based off of personal experience and reviews, shuttle you from destination to destination, and practically manage your money for you. They are lost without their travel agent, and could not navigate a city by map or train without them. They have traveled to an absurd number of countries around the world but it makes you wonder how many of them they have actually been too. They may been running out pages in their passport much like Drake says, but how many of those stamps truly marked a meaningful experience rather then a lay in some city China or a hook up in Indonesia?
They have traveled long and hard and have probably gotten quite good at their game by the time you meet them, but just note they are not like us. Their Instagram may have some of the same photos in the coolest places on earth that we all have as well, but what memory accompanies that photo? I always ask people what is the difference between seeing a photo online of something and actually going somewhere and taking the photo itself? It is the memories, feelings, and emotions that accompanied that photo and will last with you forever. You can close web pages of images out of browser in a second, but you can never really truly delete a memory from your life. And it is when you see your photo of that moment that you take a brief glimpse back in time to that memory and everything that accompanied it; maybe the struggle to find the place, the pouring rain you hiked through to see a temple, the hundreds of steps you had to climb to see a view, or what it felt to sit on an elephant for the first time in your life.
Those are the intricacies of traveling that you do not have when you look at a photo. They are unique and special to you, and something that you will grow to cherish for the rest of your life. They are the memories that these rich kid backpackers have not enjoyed like us, and will just come back home and tell their friends that they visited 20-something countries probably forgetting half their names or locations.
They can not speak a word in any of the languages of the countries they have been too (I am not saying I can but I at least try to the basics!), they could not tell a local cuisine versus foreign cuisine, and are probably socially apt on cultural etiquette and manners in each country they have visited. And if you ask me and really want to know what I think (I think so as if you are reading my blog) it is alright. This is their itinerary, their vacation, their holiday. They can chose to spend their money as ever they please and want, and this is what they’ve came for.
My Nonna (grandma = Italian) once told me something at a young age that has stuck with me forever. This a woman that immigrated over to the United States via a slow boat ride from Italy for a better life for her and her family. She told me when you go to buy something always chose the product that is middle-priced. Something that is so cheap, is probably too cheap for a reason and something will go wrong with it or it will break. Something that is too expensive could break and then you can not afford to replace it. Choose something in-between without being too cheap or spending too much.
And if there is anything I have ever known to be more true in my life, it is these dear words from my Nonna. I’m sure she does not remember telling me this, and one day I’ll have to read this blog post (I doubt she will understand the word blog or what it is) to her. But anyway to come full circle in all of this, it is through sticking to my nonnas advice that I try and make each and every decision while traveling. By choosing guesthouses versus hostels or hotels, I have truly absorbed an immense amount of culture. By choosing local cuisine and night markets, I have been able to eat my heart out around the world. And by learning a few words in every language of the countries I have been to I have fostered international smiles.
I can not speak for those rich kid backpackers, as maybe they paid the girl in their bed to teach them Thai after their session was over, or took a culinary immersion class with some Khmer sous-chef, or attempted to sleep in some Filipino beach bungalow, but I can tell you this which I learned from a boy in Vietnam- I may not have a lot of money, but I have a wealth of experiences.
And at the end of the day yes I am sure given the option of being born into a wealth of money versus not we would all chose the former. But life is about making choices and decisions with the cards you are dealt, and it is through the choices and decisions you make that truly define you and your character.
Coming live to you from the Ko Pha Ngan Ferry in south Thailand much love as always and, Until next time, XoXo.


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