10 Pins in the balloon of travel

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Everyone’s always harping on about how great travelling is, how magical, how……’life-affirming’.

Bollocks.

These people are either trying to sell you something, they’ve forgotten what it was really like, or they’ve never been. You don’t need to sit in a super-heated tin room on the other side of the planet to know that you’re alive – you just need to stick a pen into your arm. If you scream and blood goes everywhere, then you are, at least for the time being, alive. Much cheaper and more exhilarating than dropping about 12 thousand pounds to sit about in various, unsanitisized dustbowls for a year. And let’s be honest, probably a more original story. So before you make the biggest mistake of your life (unless you already have kids, in which case, may as well just keep making mistakes), I implore you to read the following rules. They might just save your life. And 12 thousand pounds.

Categorically DO NOT go travelling if:

1. YOU WANT TO MEET INTERESTING PEOPLE
Like the rest of the world, 99% of travellers are tits. However, unlike the rest of the world, they all feel compelled to tell you ‘their story’. But ‘their’ story is actually just one story, and it goes like this:

‘I was somewhere before here, I am going on to this other place, and I have B.O. Cool, huh?’

2. YOU WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH ANYONE
I haven’t met one person I’d want to have sex with. Which makes what I did with that woman even more shameful. If you are reading this, sorry. I’m usually better than that.

3. YOU SWEAT
When you travel, even your sweat sweats. If you were to zoom in on the sweat, you’d see it mopping it’s brow and complaining about how sweaty it was. And if you were to zoom in on that, you’d see more sweat coming out of that sweat, and so on, an endless flow of sweat that cannot be stemmed, even by staying perfectly still, in front of a fan, in the shade. Of course, you could just get air-conditioning but it costs a fortune. A fortune you don’t have because you already spent it on the flights, medicine and gear required to be here in the first place.

4. YOU THINK THAT ‘GANGHAM STYLE’ NEEDS TO STOP NOW
If there’s one thing that proves how homogenised the world has become, it’s ‘Gangham Style’. Blaring from every hostel, bar, tuk-tuk and bus, it’s enough to make you pick up your pen and stab it into your arm. But you can’t, because if you had to go to hospital you’d probably contract AIDS. And anyway, it’s too hot to pick up a pen. And also, someone stole your pen 3 hostels ago.

5. YOU ARE WHITE
White equals money, which establishes an us-and-them dynamic between you and all locals that is tricky to overcome. The only way to get round this is to either:

a) Spend years learning their culture, language and humour in the hope that you’ll eventually blend in,
b) Become poor like them, or:
c) Wear one of their skins, like Hannibal Lecter.

6. YOU HAVE SKIN
The problem with skin is that it doesn’t have eyes all over it. If it did, it could tell you when it was being lanced by a mosquito’s proboscis, or nipped by an army ant’s ludicrously over-sized mandibles, or if a spider was just being a spider on it. Short of swaddling yourself in a mozzie net and sitting in a brightly-lit corner like a Guantanamo bay guy, there is no way to escape this fate.

7. YOU ALREADY HAVE TOO MANY PRETEND FB FRIENDS
You go travelling to leave all that facebook nonsence behind and then when you step off the plane, it’s already waiting for you. Travellers seem to think it is their right to acquire you as a facebook friend, not the by-product of a pre-existing rapport. To date, I have been forced to add 3 people while they watch over my shoulder, only to immediately block them because we had no rapport.

8. YOU HATE THE ‘TRAVELLING’ PART OF TRAVELLING.
It’s endlessly entertaining to me how many people go on a trip round the world, then complain about having to take a bus, or walk somewhere, or do any kind of getting from one place to the next. That’s almost as dumb as spending 12 thousand pounds on a year-long trip, then writing a list of reasons why you shouldn’t have done it. Idiots, all of them.

9. YOU THINK YOUR PERSONAL POSSESSIONS ARE YOURS
They’re not yours, silly. They’re just things you’re holding until someone else decides to have them.

1O. YOU ARE SINGLE
I was on a bus in Nicaragua when a cheery Carribean bloke with a huge smile asked me if I was lonely. I responded with ‘No – I’m not lonely – I’m alone’, and he burst out laughing. Big, deep, belly-laugh laughter that spread like wildfire throughout the bus. People stamped their feet and screamed with mirth, repeating ‘He is single, SINGLE, the IDIOT!!! Doesn’t he know that accomodation costs could be virtually halved if he had a partner!!!’. Even the babies were laughing. But as soon as the laughter reached the driver, we lurched to a stop, all went quiet, and I was hurled from the moving bus into a litter-filled ditch. You thought being single was hard back home. Here, being a transvestite is more relatable.

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