As you may be able to tell from my recent run-in with an old Vietnamese lady on a boat, sometimes the road get’s me and for a few minutes, I just really hate travelling.

Here are my top ten eye-twitch inducing travel facts:

1. Sheeple and Crowds

Sheeple can be found in every cultural background and every country and like to descend on a place like the plague of locusts. Their habitat is the tour bus and they have made the herd mentality their own. Characterized by carrying huge DSLR’s that they don’t know how to use, firing flashes at buildings half a mile away and wearing socks in sandals, they seem to have forgotten that they are actually individuals capable of rational thought and making their own decisions.

Angkor Wat at sunrise. Really?

Angkor Wat at sunrise.

2. Nasty Toilets

I’m a big fan of the bush toilet (aka peeing behind a tree), because public toilets, if they are even available, are just that nasty. Nothing makes my bladder retract towards my armpits more than having to roll up my pants and wade through an inch of piss to even get to the hole in the ground.

3. Sweat and Grime

Oh god, hot and humid climates. My hair is a frizzy, tangled and dirty mess that makes me look like I lost a fight with a lawn mower, my face produces so much grease that I look more like an oil painting than a person and then there is the sweat that just starts pouring out of my pores as soon as I leave the house. Sometimes, I feel like my body is trying to end the misery and just drown me already.

4. The Noise

I seem to possess the supersonic hearing of a megabat and all the disadvantages that come with it. And it isn’t just the incessant honking, yelling and hassling that can sometimes be overwhelming. I’m convinced that certain countries just suffer from a collective hearing loss. There’s simply no other explanation to how some people seem to be able to sit through hours of blaring, cheesy Asian music shows, where girls with too much make up make sounds that remind me of a panicked cat being slowly dunked in a bathtub over and over again.

Noise and chaos in Hanoi.

Chaotic traffic in Hanoi.

5. Touts and Scammers

Touts and scammers are drawn to major tourist attractions like flies to a bad smell. Getting swarmed by them as soon as lifting the eyes an inch off the ground or sticking a toe out of a public bus, is a daily annoyance in many parts of the world. I hate having to be on guard all the time and it’s emotionally draining not being able to trust anyone. Back when I still believed the world was a consistently good and happy place and unicorns were prancing around in meadows, I thought that maybe, one day, someone would come up to me on the street and strike up a conversation simply because they are friendly and not because they plan on ripping me off in one way or another.

6. The Lack of Queuing Ability:

I was brought up respecting other peoples personal space and adhering to the general rules of queuing. Britain’s really nice, some other countries are ok at it, but in most places, I have to toss any sense of common decency out the window and get ready to use my elbows. I’ve had people nonchalantly step in front of me, and members of certain cultures like to literally squeeze up to each other nut to but. Seriously, babies are made with more room between people. Stop it.

7. Mosquitoes and Bugs: 

I’m writing this while an ant trail slowly makes it’s way across my bed towards my luggage and with two big, fat mosquito bites from last night on my face. Enough said.

Bugs: I like 'em dead and crispy.

Bugs: I like ’em dead and crispy.

8. Judgy Travellers and Accommodations:

No matter what you do, to some people you are never good enough. Carrying a backpack into a fancy hotel? Are you lost Miss? Drag a suitcase through the common room of a hostel? Oh look at her, she’s not a real traveller. Come on guys, lets just be nice to each other, everyone’s different.

9. Pollution and Trash

After only a few days on the road, I already wanted to go and hug some trees really hard. By now, I kind of want to plant a whole forest. The amount of trash that gets carelessly thrown into ditches, rivers and oceans (I’m pointing my finger at you Asia), is terrifying and makes me seriously worry about the future of our planet.

Trashy beach in Bali.

Trash on a beach in Bali.

10. Animal Abuse

Be it a boy beating a horse in Jordan, starving cats and dogs on the streets of Indonesia or taking baby elephants away from their mothers, torturing and hitting them for weeks and breaking their spirits for tourist elephant riding all across Southeast Asia – animal abuse is everywhere and if you travel outside the western world, you will notice that a lot of people have very little regard for anything but themselves. It is incredibly depressing and, apart from supporting animal rights groups and shelters, you can’t do much to stop it.

About The Author

Tiffany is a Swiss travel writer, digital nomad, and photographer, who, after a fateful journey through Africa, has decided to get her passport renewed, sell all her junk, and live out of a suitcase in various corners of the world, as well as share the experiences with other travel enthusiasts. This blog is intended to inspire you to pack your bags, leave everything behind for a while, and make you go discover the world. Check her out on .

16 Responses

  1. Lauren

    Some of these made me giggle. I have this wicked image of you going all MacGyver on a lawnmower 😛 Re: point #5, try going to Sri Lanka sometime. It taught me to let my guard down with strangers and realise not everyone wants my money 🙂

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      That would make for a great web comic 😉 I think it’s just SE Asia that has made me be so on guard all the time, I’ll definitely give Sri Lanka a chance sometime.

      Reply
  2. Charlie

    I liked the humour here 🙂 I would definitely agree with all of your top 10. And that is a crazy amount of tourists at Angkor Wat, oh my gawsh!

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      There were so many tourists there that the resulting zoo was almost an attraction by itself 😉 thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  3. Jen Seligmann

    I can 100% agree with everything you have said Tiffany. Thank you for introducing me to the word steeple. I’m going to use it all the time now!

    Reply
  4. Corinne

    Tiffany, I agree with each and every one of your list…and yes, let’s just be a little bit more tolerant of the way other people travel…isn’t that why we travel to learn about the wonderful diversity on our globe?

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      Exactly, I totally agree with you. Everybody enjoys different things and has different needs. I really hate how, as a traveller, you are apparently supposed to fit into a category and stay there.

      Reply
  5. Jonathan Fuhrmann

    (In 1.) “Characterized by carrying huge DSLR’s that they don’t know how to use, firing flashes at buildings half a mile away and wearing socks in sandals, they seem to have forgotten that they are actually individuals capable of rational thought and making their own decisions.”

    “8. Judgy Travellers and Accommodations:

    No matter what you do, to some people you are never good enough.”

    Bit hypocritical, no? Sure, crowds are annoying, but where’s the logic in, “I want this place all for myself, and some locals if they insist, but no-one else should be here!”. Also, if some people prefer to travel in a different way should we judge them for it? We can bask in the glory of being “superior” travellers in our own eyes because we go the down & dirty route, but it’s not for everyone.

    I know exactly the kind of group you mean in 1., but I’ve tried hard to just work around them instead of getting endlessly annoyed with them. If you want the place for yourself, why not go just before sunrise and watch it unfold? That’s when almost everything is at its best anyway. Not a problem for the intrepid adventurer, one would hope!

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      Haha yeah you’re right, I’m a bid judgy when it comes to people travelling in huge tour groups because I feel incredibly uncomfortable in crowds. I’m trying to work on it 🙂
      As a photographer, I of course do just what you said, take photos before sunrise and then explore for another hour or two. Then again, it doesn’t always work. The photo above from Angkor Wat with the absolutely mind-boggling crowds was taken before sunrise.

      Reply
  6. Calli

    And through this entire post I kept thinking of Sicily… I think it may be my European kryptonite. I can totally relate to all of these reasons and they are the same for me. That first picture of Angkor actually made me shudder.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      I heard Sicily was incredibly touristy and I’d probably dislike it a bit for just this reason, but one would never guess from your photos – I loved your piece on the street food! And Angkor was probably the most crowded tourist spot I’ve ever seen, seriously beyond anything I ever expected and it was even the off-season :/

      Reply
      • Dave Briggs

        Lovely post! Everyone feels like that from time to time. Must say that travel has helped make me a much more tolerant person overall though. Every time I am faced with a problem, I just think “At least its not as bad as that time in (insert country here).” lol

      • Tiffany

        Haha I have that with hostels now, there is always a worse place 🙂 “Yeah sure it’s loud, but it’s still not as bad as when those Malaysians had a dinner party at 4am in Sarajevo”

  7. Mohd zuhaib

    #1 Best description of Sheeple!
    crowd- the problem for every traveller!

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      Oh the crowds, I bet they are bad in India too! That’s why I try to find off the beaten path places and love nature – it’s quiet and I can actually hear my thoughts again.

      Reply

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