I was absolutely appalled when I caught up with the news last night and I saw articles about “beg-packing”. It’s a term I’ve never heard before and I hope I will never hear it again.
“Beg-packing” is when backpackers go traveling, run out of money and then stand on the streets in foreign countries and beg for money. Several Westerners have been seen and photographed in places like Thailand standing in the street with signs asking for money to fund their trip. I’m gonna repeat that again: Westerners in Thailand. Begging for money.
What kind of sick behaviour is this? I felt incredibly embarrassed when I read this. I sometimes refer to myself as a ‘backpacker’ even though I’m no longer on a strict budget and I travel much slower. I do not want people to get the wrong impression of me or think bad things about me because I’m also a ‘backpacker’.
But sadly, I see more and more young Westerners ruining it for the rest of us with their poor inexcusable behaviour. In Thailand I often heard fellow travelers talking about how they were riding elephants on the islands or outside Chiang Mai. I’m sorry, but here’s a newsflash: you do not ride elephants and if you do, you’re an uneducated idiot. I know that sounds harsh. Well, tough.
During my time here in South East Asia I’ve also seen an incredible amount of half naked girls and guys walking around the streets which is basically a way to disrespect the local culture.
And when I’m in a city and I get up early in the morning I see young backpackers stumbling back to their hostels shit faced wasted. Another thing worth noting: all of the fights in the nightlife I’ve seen has been young Westerners who can’t control their temper or their liquor.
Guys and girls: you are not doing yourself any favours. You are not doing the rest of us any favours. You are a complete embarrassment and you’re giving all of us a bad name with your reckless and thoughtless behaviour.
If you cannot afford to go traveling, then don’t go! Go home, save up money and then come back. If you had already saved up money before you arrived, but you ended up spending them all getting drunk on Khao San Road in Bangkok or on Pub Street in Siem Reap then you might want to rethink your life choices and reconsider your priorities. Or wait with traveling until you’re old and mature enough. You do not go and beg in the streets in a country like Thailand or Vietnam. What the hell is the matter with you?
I’m by no means a saint and I like to have a drink every week, but I’m past that stage where I drink to get drunk. I don’t like having hangovers in the morning and I’d rather spend my time on adventures instead of on alcohol. So boring, right? No. Quite the opposite, really. I’m saving a ton of money and I will not run out of money, because I make sure I have funds to support myself.
And yes, I’m sure I make mistakes every now and again. We all do. But not to this extend.
So to sum it up: Dress appropriately. Respect the local cultures. Stop involving animals in your travels unless it’s completely ethical. Don’t get shit faced wasted on your journey – save your money instead. Do not beg for money!
All right, rant over. I can breathe now.