Monday, March 14, 2016

Travel Epic Fail (Or: Authentic Cultural Experience)

"Guy bored with his office job quits it to go abroad, where he finds great adventure and success and gets laid a lot."

God damn that story bores the SHIT out of me.

It's usually more like this anyway: "Guy who is already successful socially and financially goes abroad, where he continues to be successful socially and financially."


I want to hear about the disasters.

With that in mind, here's one.

Back in 1994 I took a journey across Eurasia that included a few weeks in Morocco, which was pretty much my first experience with a third-world country. (And at that time, it was VERY third world.)

My own trip was fairly disastrous, with a lot of illnesses, but the nice thing about the world: somebody's always got it worse than you.

I spent a week in Essaouira, a beautiful old walled city that was something of a hippie / stoner / backpacker hangout. Hanging out in the cafes there, I met quite a few.

Source: Wikipedia

There were these two English kids there. Both hollow-eyed and living on weak tea and toast.

Some of the Irish backpackers referred to them as "the public school Johnnies" as reference to their well-off backgrounds. (Apprently public schools in Britain are actually very private and exclusive. Go figure.)

These two guys had finished high school and decided to take the Grand Tour of Africa, what was called "overlanding" in those days; and what's more, they wanted to Help Humanity and Have an Authentic Cultural Experience. They decided they were going to buy a Land Rover and fill it with first aid supplies to distribute to charity groups as they drove down from Morocco to South Africa.

So apparently they had crashed the Land Rover on day two, driving between Barcelona and the Gibralter. One fell asleep while driving and it went off the road and rolled over. It was completely totalled, but neither of them were hurt much.

Undaunted, they crossed over into Morocco by ferry, although all their first aid stuff was held up at customs. While waiting for it in Tangiers, they both contracted dysentery, and it was serious enough that they were hospitalized.

After they got out they decided to come to Essaouira to recuperate. Both still couldn't take solid food, as mentioned, and one said he had shit the bed in his sleep the previous night. They had paid some exorbitant levy / tax / bribe to get their first aid stuff out of customs, and hired a delivery company to send it to Essaoira; of course, it all just got stolen.

They were trying to decide to what to do next when I left for Marrakesh.

Sadly there was no internet in those days for me to find out what happened to them. They might well have found love, adventure and success in Africa for all I know.


Anonymous said...

"Epic" Buzzword of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Design Blogger wannabee

Ken said...

Is this an invitation to write about all the fuck ups we've known or met?

englishteacherx said...

Well the topic isn't fucked-up people, it's people who had fucked up disastrous experiences.

Ken said...

Ah yes but as you write people who are fucked up will often try to go somewhere else to 'escape' their woes and fuck up even worse in a foreign country.

Ken said...

On a semi related note.

The UK government just announced changes that will make teaching in the UK worse... much worse.

Pay scales are vanishing.

As are the requirements to be qualified in anything.

QTS or the ability to get it is going to change too.

So I expect many overseas destinations to be flooded with ex-UK teachers after 2016 finishes...

englishteacherx said...

If the requirements to be qualified are being changed, won't that make it a lot easier to get a job there? I'll write about the ongoing TEFLpocolypse again soon.

Ken said...

Yes it will be easier to get a job as a teacher in the UK. Unfortunately this means that any Joe Six pack will be able to work as a teacher even somebody with no qualifications whatsoever. If you remember the bad old days of TEFL where if you could fog up a mirror you got a job. UK teaching may well become that. Standards will fall and the premium one may get for having qualifications will vanish due to massive oversupply.

It sure will be easy to get a job but as everybody can apply there will a sea of candidates and it'll pay a whole load less, not as if it is paid a whole load today mind...

Oh BTW did you see cracked today?

Somebody was mentioned as number 4.

Number 4 looks awful familiar :)