Whenever a friend or family member asks me for advice about a particular geographical place that I have travelled to, my first response is usually something like this:
Don’t be a Tourist, be a Traveller with a Conscience.
If you have invested some of your hard-earned cash to travel to an international destination, you understand fully what I am about to talk about. Tourists, especially North American tourists, can be some of the most obnoxious people on the planet. They can be burdensome, self-absorbed, ego-centered, ethnocentric HobNobs. No, I am not talking about those yummy rolled oat and whole wheat biscuits – I am talking about those tourists that put on some sort of pretence that they are Royalty. You know the type, George P. Barker from Nowhere, North Dakota, riding in Coach Class, dominating and demanding the time and efforts of a steward or stewardess, whenever they get on an airplane or ship bound for who knows where. Or the guy who sticks his smelly bare feet on to the back of your seat and spends his whole time farting over a five hour flight.
Now, don’t let your ego get all tangled in a knot. This is not a slam on tourists or even folks from North Dakota, it is a post about being a considerate and conscientious traveller, especially when you journey to an international destination. Oh, and wearing socks and shoes and using the washroom judiciously on an crowded airplane is pretty well customary and expected wherever you drag your sorry ass to.
Different strokes for different folks DOES NOT apply to international travel. Being courteous, polite, patient, and even long-suffering demonstrates real class. That fake Rolex and pseudo Armani suit may fool some people, but your outward appearance does not justify your bad behaviour.
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