Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat June 18 2016

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | June 18, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Traveler Stereotypes: A Tongue-in-Cheek Analysis

    Traveler Stereotypes: A Tongue-in-Cheek Analysis

    PHOTO: The Flash Packer’s favorite meal consists of fine-dining establishments chosen on TripAdvisor’s five-star recommendations. (photo by Shannon Wolf)

    Although it’s best to not typecast, whether we choose to admit it or not, we all know that stereotypes are set in place for a reason because they are laughably alive and real — particularly while traveling.

    No matter where you turn on the Hummus Trail in India, the Gringo Trail in Central America or the Banana Pancake Trail in Southeast Asia — you’ll be hard-pressed not to find someone that fits somewhere into one of the following categories:

    The Spiritual Seeker

    The Spiritual Seeker (also sometimes referred to on the road as “modern day hippies”) left their homes and their previous lives of 9-5 in order to buy a one-way ticket to what they hope is freedom in a third-world country that is by far the most contrasting to theirs.

    PHOTO: One of the “spiritual seekers” favorite places to sleep is outside — kind of like the homeless. (photo by Jonathan Go)

    READ MORE: 6 Taboos Every Traveler Should Avoid

    The Spiritual Seekers are often poor and on a quest to see the world for what it is — letting the universe unfold to uncover some sort of grand or cosmic truth, whether it be about themselves or the world.

    They love permaculture, yoga, meat-free meals and can often be found in mountainous regions where wafts of weed linger in the air. Musical instruments are always within reach and if you listen close enough, they can often be heard quoting lines from “Into The Wild” or listening to podcasts of Alan Watts while eating scraps of other peoples meals dubbing it as “freegan.”

    The Partier

    PHOTO: The Partier can be found downing copious amounts of draft beer or buckets under corny decorated bars. (photo by Shannon Wolf)

    These types will make themselves known as soon as the light fades from the sky (and sometimes can even be spotted in daylight — although that’s a rare breed). They come out at night to neon lights boasting signs that read “2 for 1 Buckets” while their definition of cultural insight entails getting tattoos of Chinese symbols they won’t remember in the morning or scars from burning jump-ropes.

    They are typically found in hotter climates that host many islands or beaches such as San Blas Islands in Panama, Koh Rong in Cambodia and the infamous Koh Phangan Island in Thailand during a Full Moon Party. You can find Partiers typically congregating around large speakers blasting top 40 hits or trance and most definitely anywhere you see a table set up for “flip cup.”

    The Flash-Packer

    Unlike the backpacker, the “Flash-Packer” can be found awkwardly dragging their wheeled suitcase over uneven ground while spending in one week what a backpacker will typically spend in one month.

    READ MORE: The Truth About Hitchhiking

    These types can typically be found on packaged tour groups, spa retreats and in swanky hotels reminiscent of the Western world with all of the accompanied amenities making you wonder why they even left home in the first place.

    These types either have the available funds to blow or are only traveling for a short amount of time, leading them down a glamorized and often unauthentic version of “traveling.”


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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