1 Touchy Issue with Broke Travelers
I have been a broke traveler.
In the same regard, now that I’ve a few bucks in my pocket, I wanted to bring light to a touchy issue that plagues many broke travelers.
I have fallen prey to this issue/mindset in the past.
Guilty as charged.
But I wanted to dive into this poverty conscious idea clung to by many travelers – backpackers in particular – that portrays a low energy image for travelers to developing lands.
I wanted to slap the asshole in the face.
I was in Sihanoukville, Cambodia a while back. We were chatting with a few travelers. Some backpackers.
The topic of discussion shifted to the price paid for goods and services in the area.
This one Western dude – who was the King of Grunge – complained about how all the jerk tourists and expats in the area had driven up prices by not bartering for stuff like taxi rides.
For an example, this Poverty Conscious Peter noted how instead of bartering for a fairer $2 USD price for a taxi ride – quite a long taxi ride, at that – the ignorant tourists who did not know the way of the locals would pay $3.
I figured he was done, but delved deeper into his White Trash Tirade, bitching and moaning how the price of everything had risen so much that he could barely afford to live there.
This European guy grew up in a wealthy nation, on a wealthy continent, being surrounded by all manner of wealth, opportunity, businesses, jobs and abundance. Yet he moved to a developing nation, lived in a poor area, and bitched and moaned about how folks paying an extra dollar for a long cab ride would drive him out of the region.
To where….the freaking sewer?
I am intentionally harsh because Trashy Travelers like these need to get what they are doing and how it affects all the people in the area, travelers and locals alike.
The Dirt Bag Trail of Tears that has commenced from Thailand to Cambodia – after the visa crackdown of 2015 – was preceded by waves of travelers and expats in SE Asia who:
- do their best to totally slum their way in some of the lowest cost of living lands, on earth, driving down prices, adding nothing to society and in many cases, not assimilating one bit
- create a terrible image for Westerners in some of the more heavily touristed areas in Southeast Asia
- trigger visa crackdowns and other stricter laws that make it more difficult to travel through these lands for a longer term period.
Hey; these countries set the laws based on these red flag dirt bags. I totally get it. No problem with that, as it is the business of the country to do what’s in their best interest.
As for the dirt bag image and the disgusting bartering of a grown man raised in a wealthy nation, trying to work someone down who probably makes less than $2 USD a day, this low rent, ridiculously low energy, poverty conscious style of travel ain’t doing the locals any favors.
Set an abundant example for locals. Spend $4 for a tax ride, if you have $500 or $5,000 or $50,000 or more saved up. You can afford it. Then, when you inspire the locals to act abundantly, they release money more freely, allowing more prosperity into their lives, which sets an example for locals, creating an abundant chain reaction that benefits everybody.
Locals will also cheer up at your generosity.
I recall leaving tips in Thailand in 2011 when Kelli and I started traveling to the area. Back then when tipping was almost non-existent, waitresses would try to give me money back, figuring I made a mistake in over paying the bill. I explained it was a tip, or, a gift, and the smile and wai’s I received lit me up, and lit up the waitresses too.
To my fellow Western travelers, you can travel on a budget. No worries. But good God, drop an extra 1-2 or even 5-10 bucks to quit the bullshit bartering and to spread your blessings around.
Keep the cash flowing guys.
If you are broke – like, meaning, you have $20 USD to your name – it is time to start an online business in a foreign land. Or it is time to get dough from relatives back home to fly to your native land, to work a job, to boost savings and to return from a more energetic space.
You can be a broke but generous and abundant traveler, by freely allowing your limited cash to flow – resulting in more cash inflow, if you know anything about money – or you can be broke or even prospering, and a poverty conscious, bitter dirt bag who ruins everybody’s experience in a foreign land.
Feel free to budget. But when you are raised in a first world, wealthy nation, and you bitch and moan about travelers or expats spending $1 USD extra for a taxi cab ride versus bartering, ya ain’t doing other travelers, expats or locals any favors.
You just look like an asshole.