People from the United States are widely panned as being amongst the most annoying travelers. Thought of as loud, oil minded lovers of firearms and all things fried, it’s encouraging when people tell me I’m the first they’ve ever met, and that they’re surprised in a positive capacity.
While traveling solo really forces you to master yourself, it also opens the plexus of being targeted by other lonely souls who cannot comprehend the conscientious decision of mine to take to the road without some kind of companion close at hand.
Despite several people semi meeting the theoretical idea of an American as outlined above, my worst traveling encounters actually haven’t typically been with people from the New World, North America or South.
In a surprising twist of fate (considering my past two years), one nationality overwhelmingly tops my list of awful travelers who I’ve met abroad. Here are some of their stories:
At an otherwise sleepy night at my hostel in Shanghai, an incredibly loud group of eight girls proceed to set up a beer pong tournament, all while screeching in French at what must have been excruciating registers..which continued all night long. People’s constant assuming they were French left a young French girl with no other choice. “They are not from France!” She cried out indignantly. (Canada) [Quebec]
A young couple, at first glance seeming so happy together on their honeymoon in the Phililpines, before a ‘friendly’ game of pool reveals some er.. control issues that can only be classified as major on the part of the new bride. From criticising everything from his salary, pool technique, and stomach, she won her husband all of our condolences on his new life of hell. (China)
A new MBA graduate sets to make his mark on the world. ..starting with Xinjiang, China. However he didn’t get very far. Between complaining about how he’d never encountered such abject poverty as Gansu Province (my home at the time), and refusing to even walk down certain streets in Urumqi because they “weren’t developed enough,” I didn’t take up his offer to continue onward together. (USA)
A young woman and her son sit next to me on a plane bound for Chennai, India. She has never eaten Indian food and does not understand what is in the lunch we are served. I try to explain Dahl. She repeats Dole, Dale. Then she decides it isn’t sanitary, and takes it from her son as well. I spend the remainder of the flight wondering what on earth she is doing on a plane to India. (China)
These awful travelers came in an incredibly cute form: Three friends travel together, enjoying a quiet meal on their rooftop veranda overlooking the beautiful Sri Lankan Hillside. We talked, and they liked that I spoke in their tongue. They immediately had me pull up a chair. They offered to let me stay in the extra bed in their room, they proposed the idea of splitting a cab back to the capital, they complimented my clothing, my face, my hair. However closer inspection reveals the girls are snapping to get the waiter’s attention, collectively pissed at having to wait over fifteen minutes for their food. One of them stands up in a fit of hunger(?) rage(?) loudly declaring how cheap(!) the country is (in English – meaning the whole staff not to mention restaurant understood), and proceeded to loudly mock it and it’s people..all while incorrectly wearing a sari. I found myself apologizing to the waitstaff on their behalf the next day. (China)
Sometimes we travel alone because we don’t want to be found。