Posts Tagged ‘tattoos’

Backpacking in the News: Google CFO Quits Job to Go Backpacking

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Patrick Pichette, former Senior VP and CFO of Google

I wanted to blog about this when the story broke two months ago but life got away from me.*

Confirming my previous statement — to truly be free to fuck off and travel for an indefinite period of time, you must either a) just finish school, or b) quit your job — Google CFO Patrick Pichette chose Option B.

On March 10, the 52-year-old Pichette posted a resignation letter of sorts to Google+, saying he simply couldn’t tell his wife it wasn’t “their time” any longer. The experience that set this realization into motion was a recent trip he and his wife, Tamar, made to Tanzania. While watching the sunrise atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tamar asked him why they wouldn’t simply keep going, on to other parts of Africa, and then East to India, the Himalayas, Bali and beyond. His response at the time was that he wasn’t ready.

“I could not find a good argument to tell Tamar we should wait any longer for us to grab our backpacks and hit the road.”
– Patrick Pichette, Former Google CFO

“It’s not time yet,” he wrote, in hindsight. “There is still so much to do at Google, with my career, so many people counting on me/us: boards, non-profits, etc.”

A few weeks later and back at work, the Montreal-born Pichette says he couldn’t shake his wife’s question. Their kids are grown up: two are in college and another already graduated. He realized he’s been working for 25-30 years straight. He also pointed out it will be his and Tamar’s 25th wedding anniversary this summer.

“Allow me to spare you the rest of the truths,” he wrote. “But the short answer is simply that I could not find a good argument to tell Tamar we should wait any longer for us to grab our backpacks and hit the road — celebrate our last 25 years together by turning the page and enjoy a perfectly fine mid-life crisis full of bliss and beauty, and leave the door open to serendipity for our next leadership opportunities, once our long list of travels and adventures is exhausted.”

He goes on to gush about his peers at Google and wax philosophical about balancing family and a career (*the irony that I delayed blogging on this topic because I was too busy is not lost on me), only to end his frank and endearing letter with two words: “Carpe Diem.” Yep. He fucking wrote that. I mean, good for you, man. But come on.

I hope Patrick and Tamar don’t get matching Carpe diem tattoos on their anniversary, but they probably will. It’s a mid-life crisis after all.

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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, September 16th, 2009
dfmos
Classic DFMO. Note the tribal tattoo.

What a shocking bit of news. You mean to tell me that backpackers are promiscuous? And they drink too much? No way.

Hmm… Perhaps the backpacking, drinking and promiscuity are related. Worth looking into.

A few highlights:

  • Over 430 backpackers in hostels across Sydney answered questions about their boozing and scoring tendencies for an Australian study, which also tested for Chlamydia. Subjects ranged from 18 to 30, with an average age of about 23 and an even distribution of men and women.
  • 3.1 percent of men had Chlamydia; 3.9 percent of women had it.
  • 7.6 percent of men reported a previous case of Chlamydia; 10.1 percent of women previously had it.
  • That pushes the percentage of ever having Chalmydia to 10.7 percent for men and 14 percent for women.
  • 31 percent of men had a new sexual partner en route to Australia; 20 percent of women had one.
  • 60 percent of respondents said they “always” used protection.
  • 33 percent of men are drinking over double the recommended daily intake of alcohol; 28 percent of women are doing so.

Doing a study like this is like polling Jamaicans to see if they smoke weed. Backpackers can regularly be seen having unprotected sex on the shore at Full Moon Parties, for chrissakes. While the investigative process was no doubt entertaining, we already knew the answers. I want to see a study examining the amount of beenouing going on in Sydney hostels. Wait a second, I know the answer to that question too: A lot.

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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.

white-sunglasses2

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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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