Hosteling 101: The Ego

It’s really great when parents love their children.  It’s also really great when parents make their children feel good about themselves.  It’s not great at all when parents raise their children to believe that they are even slightly as awesome as Dr. Pepper or pop-up hairbrushes (more on those later).

The photo above is a photo of a girl who was clearly raised in some kind of experimental environment in which a child is told they are perfect, everything they do is marvelous and the rest of the world is merely the audience in The Me Show.  I have blurred her face because my blog is like, a week old, and it’s too early to get sued.  But I will tell you that she was a young American woman and we shared a dorm room along the Turkish Coast a few summers ago.  I happened to take this picture when I took a boat trip to escape her, only to later encounter her kayak floating along beside my boat.  There was no escape.

Actual quotes from this girl:

“I don’t get why Turkish people get all upset when I tell them that Turkish isn’t an important language.”

“Well, I’m going to go fend off some sloppy Turkish kisses.  I’m really good at that.”

“I should have my own TV show because I’m so much more photogenic and personable than most of the people on TV.”

If you are ever backpacking and sharing space in a hostel with people you’ve just  met, and you’re tempted to make one of the comments above, or a similar comment, grab your trusty Moleskine notebook and jot it down instead.  Put the notebook on your bookshelf for the next ten years, and then celebrate the ten-year anniversary of your trip by reading your quotation aloud to yourself.  If, ten years later, when read aloud, it doesn’t sound like the dumbest thought ever to be thought, then you can share it.  But only with your family and friends.  Because nobody else cares.

You’re not better than the other people in the hostel.  You’re not better than the locals.  You’re certainly not better than me!  Try traveling with a little humility; it will get you even further than a Eurail pass.

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