How to have the most traumatic global adventure possible that will leave you with THE ultimate party anecdotes… And the scars to prove it.
How can you possibly know who you are until you have flown across time zones, learned to live out of a North Face back pack, felt the granular yet curiously pleasing texture of the Chilean desert sand between your baby soft, privileged little Western toes… Travelled?
Taking time out to travel and explore new cultures is so on trend. It has now become a cultural rite of passage in the Western world to take a “Gap Yah” before settling into the coma-inducing nine-to-five-mortgage-machine that will be your life for the next six decades. You are expected to gain a moderate amount of insight into another culture and a few exotic Instagram shots that will sustain you for the rest of your insignificant life.
And yet as mass unemployment, rocketing house prices and a Top Gear comeback are all very real truths we must face, there is more pressure than ever to squeeze every drop of Life Experience from this small window of exotic opportunity. Further, you have absolutely nothing left to lose.
And so it is with a total disregard for your own personal well being that I encourage you to embark on your travels. Because this may well be your only chance to experience such anecdotal gold as Trauma and Malnutrition.
Going to Mexico to have a soggy burrito and buy a novelty sombrero does not equal a life-changing experience. If you haven’t sampled the street food lovingly crafted by the blind quadriplegic leper who cooks in the gutter at the side of the Mexico City Freeway – a city so dense with dog shit that every time you breathe you are inhaling the evaporated faeces of ten Chihuahuas, then you have not “Done Mexico”.
I, myself, have a friend who “Did India”. But did she really “Do India”? Or did she “Do India”? Oh she took in a temple or three, went about in a rickshaw, even did some Yoga (retch). But if you haven’t felt the agony of walking for days on your knees until you can see bare bone protruding in homage to your guru, then you have not “Done India”.
If you do it right, it will mark you forever.
All it takes is three weeks of eating nothing but tepid gruel and getting your hair did in cornrows so tight you can actually hear the screams of the wildebeest on the Serengeti.
Take nothing but memories. Leave nothing but footprints.