A Definitive Guide to Being An Ignorant Traveller
Ignorant travellers are either those that rarely escape their own little musty cave in the world, or the ones that think they know everything remotely worth knowing.
Their heads are firmly up their nether regions, whether at home or abroad. Some have brains closed by default, whereas others choose this lack-lustre state of being. They live in a state of ignorant bliss where everything that does not relate directly to "moi”, is not worth knowing.
So, are you just plain ignorant when gallivanting around the world and couldn't care less?
16 Clues You Might Be An Ignorant Traveller
- Starting your travel by hitting click on the cheapest airfare, without checking the airlines luggage policy. Then you proceed to abuse the check-in attendant for being slugged an exorbitant amount so that your Imelda Marcos shoe wardrobe can go on holidays with you.
- You consider hogging the person at the airport information centre with inane questions of no relevance, without a fleeting thought for the 20 odd people behind you is your right.
- Expecting a non-native English speaker to understand English spoken in a broad accent, garbled and fast-forward manner.
- Local lingo does not enter your vocabulary at any time, neither does hand language or smiling.
- You believe money is money, regardless of the country you may be in and you expect local shopkeepers to accept any and all varieties of foreign notes that you may pull out of your wallet, as long as they are anything but local notes as, for you, to get local currency would be inconvenient.
- You took the time to get an international driver's license and yet you have no idea whatsoever of the local road rules. "You drive on which side of the road?"
- Any beach is a nudist beach as far as you are concerned if you want to drop your trunks, or for the females expose those bouncy boobs to the sun it’s game on.
- Potential health risks of where you may be going, such as infectious diseases of the type that we won't discuss here or rampant wild beasts that bite, are in the "it will be alright" basket.
- Believing that wearing protective headwear on a motorbike in a third world country is not necessary, as your head miraculously becomes a "concrete" block when travelling.
- You believe queue jumping, pushing, shoving or getting too friendly with the person in front via wondering hands, big feet or bad breath is ok.
- Throwing away rubbish in a third world country to add to the locals' rampant refuse in a "if they can do it, so can I", attitude seems a reasonable justification to you.
- You think blurting out racist or religious slurs, or being loud and obnoxious quite often due to excess alcohol, in public places is funny.
- You don’t think to close the toilet door when you vacate the throne room on a moving train. Or, even worse, you use the ablutionary when the train (sans holding tank) has stopped at a station. Yuk!
- You marvel at a clean toilet amenity in a third world country, but do not think to put a few coins in the hand of the poor toilet attendant that cleans after you.
- You have no consideration for wearing appropriate clothing when entering a place of religious worship or you leave your shoes on when you have seen a motley collection of footwear at the entrance. Don't wear your Gucci shoes and then you won't care if someone else decides to go home in yours.
- Not knowing what to do with your "body parts" in accordance with local customs such as pointing with your finger, touching people on the head or pointing your feet at people. Many countries have their own "body rules".
Travel is about broadening horizons and appreciating cultural differences. So the next time you are in Fiji at a traditional ceremony where the musty foul smelling bowl of kava is being handed around, drink it. Don't scrunch up your face in disgust because you can't get it past your nose, or you will offend your host! The upshot is the fact that you do get a bit of a fuzzy high from it and maybe a few local germs.
Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.