The Loose, The Seekers, The Others
An overly analytical examination into who travels and for what reasons
It started occurring to me when I walked into one too many Gringo packed hostels somewhere in South America: who the hell are these people and what are they doing here? I’m going to do my best to not sound too derisive but really, who the hell are these people and what are they doing here? I’m talking about the gringo types whose sole purpose of travel is to get drunk as many times as possible and see some sights which they know shit all about. The contention of this thought whittled down to who are the different types of travelers.
The Loose (or the Gringos as they’re colloquially known in Latin America)
From what I can tell they are generally English speaking, hailing from the obvious countries such as (in no particular order) the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Israel* — not to exclude all the other nationalities that also contribute to the group. They have either just finished high school, University or their stint in the army and want to relax ̶a̶ ̶t̶a̶d̶̶ a lot and see some foreign shit by day. Their idea of travel is to experience the wondrous culture of the hostel and tourist area. They’re generally quite young, absent minded, drunk, hungover (or both) and quite frankly twats to deal with.
*The Israeli’s tend to form their own sub-collective
I christened this group ‘The Loose’ because it was the first synonym that came to mind related to ‘The Partiers’ which I previously coined them as, but ‘The Partiers’ lacked the connotation to describe what they were like all the time. ‘Loose’ is far more appropriate due to it’s ulterior meanings — loose from dependence, loose ideals and loose understandings.
Seekers are traveling for equally plausible reasons in terms of relaxation but also are on the hunt for clarity, space, to learn something or all three. They’re identity is not bound by nationality but have a leniency to be older, have a bit more perspective (something to do with maturity I guess) and more often than not, they've been pushed from their home rather than pulled by their destination. Their idea of travel is wide-ranging but it’s definitely not just to get drunk.
“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.” — Eudora Welty
Reasons for traveling are plentiful and being so there are various types who pursue it. I can’t cover them all, but I can mention one other that obviously strikes me. Seeing couples travel is not uncommon, human nature requires us to be together, but there’s a lovely (sad) moment in a couple’s life where they give independence one last hurrah and embark on some extensive journey before they themselves are depended upon. Late twenties/early thirties, no kids (yet), no mortgage (yet), a bit cashed up and most importantly have recently decided to settle down is the profile. They come in pairs, obviously.
It’s funny; I always seem to have to save my ass a bit when I write something these days because it feels as though I’m always having a go (I definitely am sometimes). Despite calling them twats and all that other nasty stuff, I don’t think anyone, but especially those gringo types, have any less a reason to travel (my 20 year old self did it in South East Asia). Moreover, travelers do exhibit characteristics of other traveler stereotypes but that doesn't mean that’s what they’re about.
Of course the constant correlation to my points are age.
I hope that all made sense.