Posts Tagged ‘Skype’

Backpacking in the News

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Link to article: Backpackers trek the globe with tech toys

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as applications like Skype, are allowing backpackers to connect with family and friends more easily than ever before, wrote Natalie Armstrong of Reuters (Dec. 7).

Armstrong describes Canadian traveler Dave Arnold, who is on a one-year trip after taking a buyout from his telecom employer (see 44. Quitting your job). Carrying about $9,000 worth of electronic devices, Arnold is a walking Price Is Right Showcase for third-world muggers. He’s also an example of what’s become known as a “flashpacker” (see Backpacker Types, by Nomadic Matt).

It appears the folks over at the L.P. finally heard our call (see 8. The Lonely Planet; and The L.P. on iTunes), making their guidebooks downloadable to iPods and iPhones. Arnold has 100 downloaded guidebooks on his iPod, plus 10 books and his entire music collection.

In fact, Armstrong also writes about a South Korean girl who used her iPhone 4 for everything old fogeys like I used to use the L.P. for: maps, hostels, and information on local sights, food, etc.

All this is fine and dandy, just as long as you don’t slip and fall into a swimming pool or something while carrying all your gear.

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17. Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

“hey stranger”

What’s that? Don’t act like you don’t know. You’ve been backpacking on an LDR and your significant other has hit you with the above e-mail subject. Don’t feel bad. It’s common.

It’s a common mistake. No offense if you’ve successfully done it or if you’re trying to convince your significant other to let you go backpacking, but come on. Get real.

(Cliche warning! Cliche warning!) Backpacking is about you, about discovering who you are. What makes you tick. How social you are in new and unfamiliar settings. How good you are at picking up members of the opposite sex. What you want to do with your life (if you don’t end up teaching English). How much you appreciate your family and where you’re from. Don’t fuck with it. (Without fear of sounding like the older brother of the LMS* douche from Rookie Of The Year, on American Pie 2): It’s a sacred rite of passage.

You know because you’ve seen it tried before. Maybe you’ve been that person. Maybe you broke up before your trip, maybe you didn’t. Maybe it was painfully ambiguous. Maybe you’ve travelled with an LDR backpacker. Whatever the case, you’ve seen somebody showing the symptoms: constantly stressing to check their e-mail or get to their phone, wondering what time it is back home, scrutinizing their significant other’s Facebook page with a detective’s eye for detail, sitting in dingy Internet cafes talking on Skype (“Can you hear me, now? How ’bout now?…  Haha, now?”) while other backpackers are out having fun, eating poorly, drinking heavily, losing sleep, talking to you about it endlessly in the hostel and making you lose sleep, trying to pick up chicks/guys but failing miserably because their heart’s just not into it, feeling bad because they’re being THAT person. That LDR backpacker.

So yeah, don’t do it. Break up and get back together afterward. Or if you really love her/him and you can’t let him/her go, just travel together.

*LMS (Little Man’s Syndrome): Pronounced “elms,” this syndrome is commonly known as a Napoleonic Complex, exhibited by men who are short in stature yet display aggressive and overcompensatory personality traits. Prone to peacocking, contact sports and rough horseplay (see 1. Aussie Guys), men with LMS often lift weights in order to “get jacked” and offset their unimpressive height. A common LMS greeting involves an iron-grip handshake, low-voiced laughter and a hug that turns into a lifting-taller-friend-off-the-ground (and thus displaying their great strength) exercise. Sometimes, LMS just applies to short guys in general.

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