Am I A Travel Asshole?

As my upcoming trip to Bali approaches I can’t help but assess and compare my standards and approach to travel. I’ve always been a tolerant person who tries* to see even the smallest bit of good in someone. This also applies in trying to see someone else’s perspective. Often I will outright accept that a person is a complete tosser, other times I try to see things as they might.

When it comes to travel, I try to find the most authentic approach to exploring wherever I am. That being said, I am a young, middle class, white girl in the 21st century, and some things make me uncomfortable. I am not as in touch with my emotions as I’d like to be, therefore when I see slums and poor living conditions, I kind of freeze up and don’t know how to cope. In India someone pointed out that these conditions are all they’ve ever known and don’t have anything to compare it to. I can’t help but feel like a shit person for being so privileged, however nowadays I just thank my lucky stars for being born where I am. Whenever I return from a trip, I’m at my most humble.

Back to the original topic though: Who am I to judge someone for their love of Bali and Bintang shirts? Maybe I’m missing out. Maybe they think the way that I travel is bullshit. Maybe it is. Who’s to say what the right way to travel is? I’ve been critiqued for taking too much time in a place, but also for not spending nearly enough time (cheers to Hendrique, the German backpacker we picked up in NZ, who tsked at my every life decision during the short trip from Wanaka to Queenstown).

People can approach travelling in any way they choose, whether it’s by staying exclusively in 5 star resorts or staying in the second cheapest hostel available.

I try not to judge as I enjoy a bit of both worlds. More often than not, a bed is a bed. (Also I’m a student and can’t really afford to get good travel insurance let alone a 5 star in a resort) For me travel is about what is outside of my room. I will happily stay in a hostel if it means that I can splurge on a really good breakfast, however I’ve stayed in some pretty dank places and even I know when a line has been crossed. (Said line is somewhere between downright disgusting bathrooms and or gross pillows. I would give anything to be able to justify bringing my own pillow when I travel.)

I’ve had it pretty lucky so far in my travels: I’m yet to have someone steal something and I’ve never been on the bottom bunk of a bed whilst a couple on the top bunk are having sex. BUT it is really nice to stay somewhere pretty, with free breakfast, nice sheets and no bruises from where a spring in your mattress was digging into you while you slept.

Maybe Bali will be an incredible experience with loads of hidden gems to uncover. Or maybe I’ll meet more Australians than I ever have in my life. The beauty of travelling is you’ll never know until you get there, and that’s the real adventure.

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