I was at a party (I say party, but it was more of a gathering, but I didn’t say gathering because I’m not in grade 10 trying to find a more exclusive word than party to call a party any more) one weekend several years ago and distinctly remember someone having a dig at me because I laughed at them (admittedly somewhat more enthusiastically than was necessary due to the ludicrous way in which they brought up the topic) when they discussed their keeping and maintaining of a travel diary whilst on an overseas trip. They then had the impudence to ask the highly condescending follow-up question, “Have you even travelled?”, the inference being that had I been as worldly or well-travelled (at this point they were unaware that I was the son of a travel agent) as they were, perhaps I would share more of an illuminated view (read: their view) on the matter.

Well, I don’t share, nor will I ever share the view that keeping a travel diary is a necessary element of getting the most out of overseas travel. Whilst I completely agree that one cannot have a rounded view of the world without having experienced different countries and their cultures first-hand, I absolutely detest the idea that in order for me to get the most out of these experiences I must document them for my own posterity. I have a perfectly good memory for that.

I couldn’t imagine a more banal task than pulling out pen and paper at the end of a long day of travelling and writing about my feelings, thoughts and impressions of the country I’m in. The concept of the diary is one that I associate with drunken 1800s Scottish poets, 12-year-old girls with a new crush & the severely mentally unbalanced. Unless you write with the fervour and perfection of Hemingway or Yeats, the whole exercise simply serves to cheapen the experience in my opinion. This is exactly the reason why I hate the idea of blogging (& bloggers) so much (and assumedly the reason why people have paid me to do it for 6 months).

These chumps go on a 12 week overseas trip and come back ‘worldly’.  I fucking despise them. It’s one thing to expand your horizons and gain a better understanding of the world around you by experiencing different cultures and different ways of life, but it’s another thing entirely to return to your home town or city with an English accent despite only having been in London for 4 weeks.

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Dear Diary: I took so many photos of people that I’m clearly richer than today!

These are the types of people that check themselves in on Facebook when in the departure lounges of domestic airports on their way out of the country. I mean, seriously, it’s not 1960. Air-travel is no longer the glamorous realm of the high-flying (yes, that’s where the term came from) elite. I liken air travel to a 55-year-old man getting his prostate checked; an uncomfortable but necessary endeavour.

Do you know the most ironic thing about all of this? The same people that are furiously writing in their diaries like they’re on some intellectual crusade to better understand the world around them can generally be found spending half of their time overseas hunched over a glimmering LED screen inside their hostel, chatting to their mum on Facebook.

/end communication

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