Alright, so the main reason I travel is to experience local culture, but the cynical part of me really enjoys analyzing the often even more fascinating traveler culture that revolves around me. Whether passing through India, Mexico, or France, there are a few traveler types that can be seen around the world–some of whom we envy, and some that just make us laugh. Over the next few weeks, I will compile a 5 part traveler profile covering:
- The Backpacker
- The Catalogue Model
- The Journalist
- The Tacky Tourist
- The Partier
Disclaimer: I know that stereotyping is wrong. This post is only a silly, sarcastic view of the author!
Here is the traveler profile of part 1 of my 5 part series: The Backpacker
Dress Code: The backpacker uniform is quite complex because of its many layers. Every good backpacker outfit begins with an obnoxious pair of gypsy pants. After a conservative first layer, they will then wear a culturally inappropriate tank top that shows bra straps or pectorals. Next, the backpacker throws on at least 3 mismatched scarves as a belt, neck tie, head wrap, sash, etc. The look is completed by a woven shoulder bag, cow bone necklace, gladiator sandals, a gauged earring, and a goat leather fanny pack. If they look disheveled, they have succeeded.
Hygiene: Backpackers shower, on average, once every 4-7 days. Basic toiletries such as deodorant and shampoo are considered as extra weight, and will not be included in their bag. While dreadlocks or a partially shaven head are preferred, some backpackers are accepted into the community with nothing more than a messy head of curls or a thick head wrap. Backpackers must always smell of incense, essential oils, tea, or body odor. Barefoot walking is preferred.
Equipment: A hidden copy of the Lonely Planet; a pricey REI backpack; a leather bound journal; a yoga mat, ukelele, flag, or other random novelty items strung off the side of their backpack.
Activities: This can get tricky. The objective of the backpacker is to avoid all things commercialized and “touristy”, but in doing so, they end up participating in the exact same activities as other backpackers. Favorite activities include tea with monks, hitch hiking, yoga, overland transportation, panning for gold, smoking cigarettes, etc.Backpackers often favor experiences that be retold in a sensational way, and they often intentionally place themselves in bad situations for this reason.
Favorite Topics of Conversation: Eastern religions, symbolism of tattoos, exaggerated travel memories, philosophy, etc.