Posts Tagged ‘Female backpackers’

Backpacking in the News

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Sienna Miller Intends to Backpack and Stay in Hostels, Not Expensive Hotels
[More on this topic…]

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Former Vegan Becomes ‘Ethical Omnivore’
– Finally caved (gave up on pretending) due to inability to stay off cheese while backpacking in Europe.

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Lonely Planet: Country guides on iPhone? Not just yet.
City guides, yes. Country guides, no.
[Here’s what recently brought this to my attention.]

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30. Female Backpacker Type B

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

female-backpacker-type-b11The majority of female backpackers fall under two main types: the Type A and the Type B.

Female Backpacker Type B is a bookish explorer. She gets straight As. She used to sing in the high school choir, or play clarinet in the school band. A self-declared “citizen of the world,” she turns her nose up to the general crudeness of the “party backpacker” scene (a scene openly embraced by her counterpart, Miss Type A).

In a movie, she’d be played by Emmy Rossum, Erika Christensen or Rebecca Hall. Who the F are they? Exactly. That’s why those actresses play her. She’s not a scene stealer. More like a cute dork. But make no mistake : She is NOT HOT.

She studied psychology, anthopology or art history in university and has no idea what she wants to do with her life (a common condition among post-grad backpackers). She’s considering teaching English overseas or working for an NGO before making a real career decision (also a common condition among backpackers).

Female Backpacker Type B is a militant vegetarian and can be seen making a stink about the lack of vegetarian options on the menu, in restaurants the world over. Due to her keen sense of social justice, she is more than happy to cause a scene defending her rights or somebody else’s.

She is unafraid to fuse styles and resemble a crazy old hippie lady, wearing local souvenir garb alongside designer sunglasses and quality outdoor gear (see above photo). She wears grandma panties and refuses to show unnecessary cleavage. In spite of her conservative dress, she may have a tattoo about the place or engage in some uncharacteristic drug/sexual experimentation while at the place. She is human, after all, she confesses.

female-backpacker-type-b2A reader of this blog, Maya, describes Female Backpacker Type B as follows: “what scares me much more (than alpha females) are those chicks… sort of intellectual, specky, vegetarian, tea drinking, not using the f-word, wearing tie-dye stuff and organic hemp bags, etc. i’m sure they are all really nice girls… i consider myself a feminist (yeah, being feminist doesn’t actually mean one has to become a total dude) but somehow they always make me think they should just buy some really slutty underwear instead of the terry pratchett books!!!!!!”

Agreed. But I have no idea who Terry Pratchett is.

Speaking of books, she ALWAYS reads the book about the place en route to the place (or while at the place). She has a voracious appetite for sightseeing; she goes to bed early and gets up early, so to beat the line-ups at the Louvre, the Vatican City, Venice, the Egyptian pyramids and Angkor Wat. She is planning a hiking trip to Macchu Picchu with her girlfriends but worries that if she waits too long, they will all be settled down, having babies and averse to adventure. Perhaps she’ll simply do it on her own (after teaching English overseas or working for an NGO).

Like the aptly named Natalie Keener, Anna Kendrick’s character in Up in the Air, Female Backpacker Type B is lost in a dichotomous idealism: a hurried checklist of things she intends to see and do before reaching her goal of having a successful career, settling down with the perfect mate (with a lengthy checklist of necessary traits), having babies and somehow remaining as ambitious and adventurous as ever. Good luck with all of that.

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Backpacking in the News

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Link to article: British backpackers plead guilty to insurance fraud in Brazil

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Two British backpackers, Shanti Andrews and Rebecca Turner, have pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in a Brazilian court after admitting they misled police about being robbed while on a round-the-world trip. (Source: Telegraph.co.uk)

As you can see, just another couple of Female Backpacker Type As doing their thang. Lookin’ pretty wubes, too.

I told you guys my ESP was kickin’ in.

Aug. 21 – Here’s a link to the follow-up article: British backpackers could spend months performing community service in Brazil

Aug. 25 – These bitches won’t quit: British backpackers in false robbery claim appeal conviction

Dec. 19 – In the end, just as it happened for O.J., shoddy police work gets them off: Jailed British backpackers acquitted of fraud conviction

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21. Female Backpacker Type A

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Female Backacker Type A is a proud species. She’s a major overcompensator who goes to great lengths to be cool. She tries to be one of the dudes, and in many cases, she is. So in her defence, at least she knows how to have a good time.

She’s a party animal. She’s crude. She’s promiscuous. She pretends to not give a shit about her appearance or she goes halfway with it. For example, her clothes are tattered but she makes enough of an effort to shave her armpits and wear eye make-up. She used to be hot in high school, but she has since developed a fat ass and cankles, which is why so many guys are on the fence about hooking up with her: Her face is cute, but her body is a train wreck, mostly because she parties too damn much (see 20. Getting “wubes”). She wears baggy cargo shorts, birks, hemp jewelry, wifebeaters and sometimes rocks the dreads. She has tattoos and a few piercings. Cute face, though.

female-backpacker-type-a2If I were to cast her in a movie, I’d choose somebody like Pink or Minnie Driver.

The thing that annoys me the most about Female Backpacker Type A is that she’s a blatant chameleon: She will self-transform to blend into any social situation and be accepted like everybody else. If The Gibbon Experience is perceived as the hip, edgy eco-tourism activity du jour, she is all over it. She’s out there promoting it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, because  nobody knows about it (you find out later they’re booked solid for the next four months so, in actuality, everybody DOES know about it).

She’s so adventurous. If you want to know how adventurous, just ask her. She’ll cannonball off a cliff with reckless abandon, just like the fellas. She’d love to tell you about it because she’s a prolific feemou. She’s such a one-upper (see Kristen Wiig’s SNL character, Penelope), that regardless of the topic of conversation, she has something to add, relative to her own superior experience. But it’s all a facade. She’s bought into every cliche in the Backpacker’s Bible, not because she believes it, but because she thinks people will like her more if she does. A true chameleon.

I really shouldn’t complain because I’m all for women’s rights and Female Backpacker Type A is in many ways the prototype for the independent woman in 2009**. I think the bicep flexing WWII-era lady with the red polka-dot bandana was that generation’s Female Backpacker Type A. I’ve previously written that backpacking, like comic flatulence, is more of a guy’s thing, which is why hot chicks don’t do it (see 3. Where are the Hot Girls?). Well, Female Backpacker Type A is unafraid to rip a nasty fart. So, maybe I’m wrong and she actually doesn’t care what people think. If that’s the case, then you go girl.

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” – Gloria Steinem

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.” – Simone de Beauvoir

“Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.” – Betty Friedan

** My ESP must really be kickin’ in today: NY Times article about Female Soldiers.

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14. White sunglasses

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

white-sunglasses1I mean, come on. Are you serious?

White sunglasses should have been banned a long time ago. For people that are into them, however, I suppose they complement puka shell necklaces, gelled and frosted tips, and tribal tattoos.

I believe the Brits have a term for this kind of thing: “chavs.” From my understanding, it defines a type of style, or lack thereof. The look is pure cheese. Lame K-Swiss sneakers, Ali G tracksuits, “wigger” attire,  etc. In short, it’s bad taste. White sunglasses are the chavs of the eyewear world.

Over the past few years, white sunglasses were popularized among male backpackers by surfers and snowboarders (see 1. Aussie Guys) mainly because pro boarders are capable of scoring indeterminate amounts of women. Analagously, puka shell necklaces also flourished in the wannabe-boarder market during the late 1990s-early 2000s. While many poseurs attempt to recreate the pro boarder look, they fail to realize that Kelly Slater is a pimp and sadly, they are not.

Female backpackers, unfortunately, are not immune to the lure of a pair of ivory frames, particularly not if they’re available at an unbeatable knockoff price of $2.50 on the beaches of impoverished nations.

Perhaps these people are, either openly or closet, Star Wars fans. They are unwittingly motivated by a desire to look like storm troopers. If that’s the case, I’ll give ’em that. Storm troopers are pretty money.

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12. Tattoos About the Place

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

angelinaFew things capture the paradox of backpacker pretense better than tattoos. Every year, thousands of young travelers try desperately to be original only to end up behaving like everyone else. Getting a tattoo of a place you’ve visited is sort of like wearing American Apparel. It was cool and unique when nobody was doing it, but soon enough it got played out (see Nice but ubiquitous hoodie).

Ah, tattoos. So youthful and rebellious. Such a ballsy move to paint oneself with permanent artwork. And when backpackers sport a dope tat from their sojourn overseas, well that’s a backhanded beenou my friends. Go ahead, ask them what it means or better yet:  where they got it. Before you know it, you’ll be witnessing the eruption of Mt. St. Beenou.

A few backpacker tattoos to ponder (combinations of the below options may also exist):

  1. Plants and wildlife. Take, for example, a simple dolphin or whale tail. Countless girls have fallen victim to bad ink (see Megan Fox) and a common precursor is a fond and lasting encounter with porpoises off the coast of [Insert tropical dolphin inhabited place here]. Female backpacker Type A suffers terribly from the above Backpacker Tattoo Syndrome (BTS).
  2. Traditional/tribal tattoo styles. Thai bamboo style tattoo. Anything Maori. It looks fucking cool. Surfers rock it so it must be, right? Don’t forget that Mike Tyson has one on his face. If you wanna pull an Angelina, go adopt a kid from Vietnam.
  3. Foreign writing. I’ll be the first to admit that Sanskrit, Arabic and Farsi look awesome. But not if you’re a white boy from Idaho. You end up looking like that dad wearing the “My Sister Went to the Bahamas and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” shirt. Speaking of t-shirts, you may be aware of t-shirts from Japan and Taiwan printed in senseless English (e.g. Happy So Much!). The meaning is lost in translation. Yeah well, that “Carpe diem” you got in Chinese characters is just as meaningless (e.g. Grab Time) to the average Chinese person.
  4. Pretend spirituality. Buddhist, Taoist and vegetarian symbols are common offenses.
  5. Carpe diem. Cliches are excellent ways for backpackers to express their originality.
  6. Nationalistic beenous. On the topic of cliches, Canadian backpackers often have tattoos of Canadian flags or maple leaves. These are as cliche as the Canadian flag patches on their backpacks.
#1-2 combo.

#1-2 combo.

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11. Sightseeing

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Backpacking and sightseeing are supposed to go hand in hand, but they don’t. Lugging a heavy pack all over a foreign metropolis is great fun. Doing so with an implosive hangover is even better. The Lonely Planet is mostly to blame since it conveniently lists off, under “Sights” of course, the must-see attractions of every place on earth. And because the LP is the infallible gospel of backpackers, failure to cover a respectable majority of listed sights is greeted with clicking tongues, shaking heads (i.e. judgement) and lifelong guilt. “You went to ____, and didn’t see ____?! (tongue clicking).”

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Cue "The Imperial March," from Star Wars.

We’ve all checked off our share of sights, beenou. Seriously, that’s what it feels like: a checklist. Big Ben? Check. Machu Picchu? Check. Taj Mahal? Check. The LP and our adherence to it have reduced an awe-inspiring list of ancient and modern wonders to an everyday grocery list.

If I see one more museum, gallery, cathedral or temple, I might just go insane. I went to the Louvre and actually liked two paintings and one statue. The statue had no head, by the way. That was out of 7,000 works I made a point to see because it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” It took the whole day and I only saw a third of the place. I also bought a $20 sandwich for lunch that day. Awesome deal. I went to the Vatican at 8 a.m. to beat the line-up and when I arrived, it was already snaking around two blocks. It, too, took the whole day. Is it even worth it?

Sometimes, the sights are so spectacular they’re worth it. You’re glad you saw them. That photo of you pushing over the Leaning Tower of Pisa with your index finger is indeed a priceless memento. Very funny and wildly original. But most of the time you’re left thinking, “That was IT?”

sightseeing2The crowds often ruin the experience. Massive throngs of Japanese tourists, although cute (the Tilley hats get me every time), are not people I care to hang out around. Their tour guides are inches away from committing suicide. People are jockeying for position to get the best photo and you’re avoiding collisions more than you’re actually enjoying the sights, exhibits or landscapes around you. Even when you say excuse me, they either don’t understand you or can’t hear a thing ‘cuz they’re knee deep into an audio guide. Besides, Asians (especially old ones) have no concept of personal space.

Some backpackers genuinely enjoy sightseeing. They will bypass boozing nearly every night so they can get up at dawn and see EVERYTHING. Most of these backpackers are women. The sightseeing female backpackers make up one of the two types of lady road warriors – more on that later (see 3. Where are the Hot Girls?).

The rest of us are too busy struggling with our packs or nursing hangovers to care about sightseeing. Or we’re male. Men (especially straight men) are lazy and wonderfully apathetic travelers. Which is why we have so much fun and don’t remember much of our trip. Oktoberfest? Check.

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3. Where are the Hot Girls?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

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Not backpacking, that’s where. It’s a known fact that hot chicks don’t rough it. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule, but make no mistake: The vast majority of good-looking women will refuse to strap on a massive rucksack and throw caution to the wind. The ladies you meet on the backpacking circuit are of two predominant types – more on that later.

So why don’t the hotties pull a Sir Edmund Hillary? Come on. Think about it. The prospect of spending months overseas, on a tight budget, sleeping on shoddy trains, ferries, buses and dorm bunks, washing sparingly, shaving legs and armpits rarely, abandoning make-up, hairspray and nailpolish, trading designer handbag (or clutch) in for cumbersome moneybelt and being away from Facebook for inordinate periods of time simply doesn’t appeal to sexy bitches. Oh and I forgot to mention getting hit on FULL TIME by a constant lineup of desperate, broke, smelly dudes. And getting harassed by local pervs at every turn, who, in some countries, will go so far as to masturbate as you walk by in your bikini. Happy trails.

That’s bullshit, you say. There are plenty of babes out there backpacking. Yeah, there are. With their boyfriends.

Hot chicks travel with luggage. Rolling luggage. They drop the S out of the word “hostel.” They take cabs, not rickshaws. They don’t like being away from essential amenities and services, namely Starbucks (although it’s basically integrated with backpacker culture nowadays; see 5. Multinationals), a 12-lb. make-up crate, a blowdryer and hair straightener, and real-time gossip technology. They prefer rich, well-dressed, groomed men. They choose luxury over practicality seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Most of them pretend to care about world issues, politics and poverty, but they really don’t give a shit. They do, however, know everything about The Hills.

Yet some exceptions do exist. Consider women in the military or lady cops. Not a lot of hot ones. It takes a certain mental constitution to really get dirt under the fingernails, to tear the meat off the bone of traveling. Backpacking is like farting. It’s raw, curious, savage and, at times, inhumane. It’s generally more of a guys’ thing.

Indeed, some hot chicks are adventurous. Some will brave the aforementioned perils (and let go of their familiar comforts), without a b.f. in tow, to try something new. And that something new is Europe (see Star Picks Backpacking Over Work or Taken). Or Australia. The developing world? Sure, but preferably with a girlfriend or two… and expect tension if not a mid-trip parting of ways. Yeah right, a smokin’ hot broad rolling solo in the developing world. Now, you’re really pushing it.

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