Wow, I’m just burning through these things aren’t I? Like I said, I’ve got an endgame in mind. There will be two more entries in this series after this. You’ll probably guess what I’m going for after you finish reading this one, so I don’t even know why I’m pretending to keep it a secret. Maybe I just assume you’re so disinterested that you’re skimming this. Are you reading this right now? Let’s see. Here we go!
- The Martian – Hey, that’s really cool that you’re talking about the time you went to that little fishing village in the Mekong Delta. Yeah, I’ve been there. It was nice. But I think it’s a little touristy, really just destroying the local culture, ya know? I just can’t help but think anybody who goes there doesn’t really “get it,” ya know? Now the Amazon River basin, that’s where the real authentic river life is. What? Yeah I’ve been there… no big deal. Oh, you’ve turned your back on me and now you’re talking about the time you camped in the middle of nowhere in the Rockies. That sounds cool too! I’m sure you had a blast! It reminds me of the time I camped out in the steppes of Mongolia, by myself, for four months! Four months, dude! How long did you camp for?! Oh, you’re an astronaut and you’re going to the moon? Well fuck you, I’m going to FUCKING MARS! FUCKING MARS DUDE! I’M A TRAVELER!
- Catchphrase: “Where’s everybody going? Don’t you want to hear about how much better I am at traveling than you?”
- The Peacock – They say first impressions are the most important. It’s not shallow to agree. Thing is, you need to make a second impression as well. A third one can’t hurt. The Peacock doesn’t realize this – he’s all flash, no substance. So he’ll go out in the most ridiculous costumes he can find, hoping it masks the fact that he has no personality at all. Once the novelty of his ironically-worn Acapulco shirt and sailor hat wear off and he’s exhausted his supply of fresh faces, the Peacock slinks back into obscurity, piping into conversations with jokes nobody laughs at, interjections nobody asked for. That’s not to say he’s socially awkward. Shy people, at least, have something to offer if you dig deep enough through the insecurities. But there’s a reason the peacock’s tail is so much bigger than its head. They say traveling makes you a more well-rounded person, but here’s the part nobody feels the need to add: you need to have something there to round.
- Catchphrase: “Haha! You like my shirt? Yeah it’s awesome! It’s my, uh, it’s my shirt.”
- Free/Me! – Haha! All of these categories are so funny! It’s nice to be able to laugh at other people and their stereotypes, isn’t it? I mean, the guy who one-ups your travel stories! The guy who’s always drunk and looking to score! You met those people just last night! Of course, you don’t fit into any of these categories. No sir. You’re a full-fledged person with goals and daydreams, hopes and fears. You could hardly boil down all that is you into a little pigeonhole with a metaphoric name and a catchphrase. That just makes you sound so… simple. Which you’re not, as we’ve established. I mean, they say that if you can’t spot the idiot in the room, then it’s probably you. But what does that have to do with this? Now, go find that ironic Acapulco shirt and sailor hat you wanted to wear tonight.
- Catchphrase: Come on. Like somebody as thoughtful and unique as you could have a “catchphrase.”
- The Local – Strap your selves in guys, this one isn’t even derogatory! Staying in a hostel can be hard. There’s dozens of people all with different itineraries. Should you go to Angkor Wat with the first group you meet, or wait until tomorrow to get your bearings? You’ve only got two days in down, where should you go at all? Lonely Planet is okay, but come on. We all know guidebooks aren’t exactly a skeleton key to the city. That’s where the local comes in. It’s always good to make friends, or at least talk to, a few of them – after all, they live there. It’s safe to say they know what they’re talking about. Luckily, there always seems to be one or two hanging around the hostel bar. Maybe they’re seeing how the other half (of the world) lives. Maybe they work there. Maybe they’re just friends with the bartender and out for a free drink. Either way, one’ll be there, lounging in a chair and listening to languages he barely understands. So get to know him. You never know what kind of mystical native wisdom he’ll impart on you. Or, shit, maybe he’ll just be a creepy dude looking to score with some foreigners. But the coin lands heads up half the time.
- Catchphrase: “Yeah, I know Lonely Planet called it a hidden gem with soaring cliff faces. I’m telling you it sucks.”
- The Sympathetic Pregnancy – When Matador Network picked up the first edition of this series, a guy in the comments started calling me racist. He said that by putting people into categories, I either did not understand travel, or I was selling my soul for a paycheck. Ignoring his points (because let’s face it, his points are shit), I’ll say that I’ve seen him before. Some people thrive on being offended on others’ behalves. It gives them strength, like some kind of melodramatic Hulk; only instead of turning green and smashing something, they allow a single tear to run down their cheek while telling you you’re not a real traveler like they are. You don’t connect with the world like they do. You see, they’re a citizen of the world. They haven’t eaten anything but noodles and bugs for six months. Anybody who enjoys going to bars or having fun is a leech on the local culture. Of course, the locals don’t feel that way. Hell, one of them is drinking with you right now. It’s like when men get phantom pregnancy pains. His partner doesn’t expect him to carry the kid around for nine months. But darnit, he’s just so in tune with her body in ways you and your wife will never understand. His wife rolls her eyes when he says this.
- Catchphrase: Rather than a catchphrase, I’d just like you to imagine the escalating conversation the Sympathetic Pregnancy would have with the Martian. Jesus.