Words and labels seem to be such a big thing these days, what with all the identity politics and what not (I am so old I remember when it was just LGTB). I think I am currently a cusp-millennial part of the white tyrannical patriarchy. I think I’m also due some white privilege, but having grown up fairly working class I have never been able to find where I can pick up said privilege. As always, I digress.
But how do we describe ourselves when it comes to travel and living abroad? I’m not going to go into the whole expat versus immigrant thing (you just need a dictionary to do that), but how we “who travel” refer to ourselves.
When I first start to see the world, I certainly referred to myself as a backpacker. I am sorry to say I definitely at some point have called myself a “citizen of the world”. But there has to come in your life, when life isn’t backpacking. Life is not a pissing contest about who can eat, spend the least looking at temples whilst eating arguing with street food vendors about the price of noodles.
At some point, we are required to get jobs, ideally good ones that we like. For some that means travel becomes more sublime, cruises, weekends in Paris and the like.
For others the dream never goes away, and we still want to up the octane, whilst traveling to bat-shit crazy places on the planet, but whilst not necessarily staying in dorm beds. In many ways, this is how Young Pioneer Tours, and our “taking you to places your mother would rather stayed you away from” came.
Are we travelers? I remember being rather drunk, and well, misbehaving with some other chums in Saigon, and having a lady say (to my friend) “as a real traveler you disgust me”. That was a good trip. I therefore also feel that the word “traveler” has too many beatnik hippie overtones, apologies to any hippies out there (sorry, not sorry).
I, therefore, feel in a world of cultural appropriation that WE, our tribe can appropriate the term “travel junkie”. Peoples of all races, breeds, colours, and sexualities, it’s an inclusive bunch, but we are taking the word back.
So, how to define a travel junkie? To me the answer is very much simple, it’s a person simply addicted to travel, not to being on holiday, but traveling off the beaten track (very cliché I know), as much and as often as you can.
So, are you a travel junkie? A few key signs that you might be are:
- You’ve not only heard unrecognized countries like Transnistria, or Somaliland, but you’ve been.
- You argue about what constitutes a “country”.
- You argue with passion about what constitutes visiting a country.
- Going through an airport isn’t a drag, it is a feat of perfect planning, with you having a number of airport and flight hacks up your sleeve!
- Even when you are on a trip, you are planning the next one.
Now obviously these points are far from exhaustive, and well coming from a CIS Street Food Guy. I respect everyone’s right to self-identify, but to me at least, I am proud to call myself a travel junkie!