These are stories about people and places. I’ve been fortunate to live, work and travel in many beautiful places, 54 countries in total, and to have experienced the amazing variety of cultures and welcomes, in those places. I’ve had very few bad experiences in any of those countries – but many interesting ones. So this is about those great experiences, the great things, but also about the cultural chaos caused by tourism, the environmental destruction I’ve seen, the politics and the history.
I call this blog the “Idiot Traveller” because there is a certain idiocy in travelling. We do things we’d never do at home. We endure things we’d never endure at home and inevitably there are mistakes and idiocies that wouldn’t matter as much in the safety of our own homes or cities. Things we shouldn’t have done, places we shouldn’t have gone. Mistakes we shouldn’t have made.
We commit ourselves to things we would never imagine doing at home; days in the hell of airports and planes, standing in queues or crammed into airline seats. Currency exchange, nightmare traffic, infuriating bureaucrats, lost passports, money or cameras.
We have to deal with grumpy bureaucrats, keep all our travel documents handy but make sure they are safe at the same time.
We have to try and travel with everything we need but at the same time try and keep our bags at 10 kilos or less (if we are sensible). And the things we travel with are guaranteed to drive us to distraction, phones that won’t work when we need them most, travel guides that don’t have the information we need.
If it can happen on a holiday it will. The stories entitled “Travelling Crazy” are anecdotal blogs about some of those experiences; the things we do and the things that happen.
Conversely we have experiences we couldn’t get at home.
When we travel to a country we are not simply an empty vessel absorbing in value free way everything we see and experience but we are also making a political statement: that we are prepared to tolerate the politics and social mores of that place.
We are also learning and understanding the values, culture, customs and politics of those places.
Everything is heightened by the experience of being in a strange place, speaking a strange language (if we speak it at all) and doing things we don’t normally do. We are metaphorically “Idiot Travellers” and, in a sense we are a bit crazy. Hence my reference to “Travelling Crazy”