Monday, March 12, 2012

Not Recommended by the Lonely Planet!

Side note here: everywhere in Asia has stupid advertisements saying "recommended by Lonely Planet". Everyone walks around clutching the lonely planet, therefore leading almost the entire 'n00b' backpacker community to the exact same destinations and to have the exact same experiences. Furthermore, it's not even for backpackers! Yes they have the Southeast Asia on a Budget and those books, but for the most part it has high end eats and comfy posh sleeps. The reality comes in 2 parts. One being the fact that as soon as they leave their "westernized" fanciness and hit the street, they will inevitably be even more culture shocked than stepping off the plane! And the second thing is that I would say 90% of travelers are between 20-35 and probably don't have that kind of money- especially if they are on extended trips. Then you get those people who take holidays, but let's be honest, most people get 2-3 weeks a year holiday and why would you need an 1000 page book for 21 days? So why is the lonely planet so damn popular? I scrapped reading those even before I left home! My advice: talk to people!!! Not only will you have a conversation starter, meet new friends, but get valuable CURRENT information regarding the place of your choosing, and you might even find out about something that wasn't on your radar! Also, buy local maps from local people. Don't be afraid to throw your lonely planet out and eat where YOU want. Eat street food with the locals (watch them cook it and you should be good)! Sleep in dorms with other backpackers to share experiences with them! Go on a walk and discover something new! Excuse my blasphemy but screw the lonely planet and be an Adventurer and explore these places for the first time- not through second hand knowledge!

If you haven't traveled before, and still want to buy a lonely planet after reading this than this is what Bob has to say "Sayin' don't worry, about a thing. Cuz every little thing's, gonna be alright!" Okay, but all jokes aside, the hardest part about traveling is deciding to go and booking your first ticket. The rest is easy, piece of cake, walk in the park. Seriously! The wonderful thing about backpackers is the friendliness and openness- especially if you are on your own. I could walk into the middle of a conversation and be welcomed instantly. It is amazingly easy to meet new friends, make connections, and hear advice. The best part is that all these people you meet are on your brain wavelength of experiencing new cultures, food, people, etc. No, no, the best part is that generally backpackers all have a similar route and you can see eachother again down the line. I met this girl in Airlie Beach, Australia last April, and then I saw her in Kuala Lumpur at the end of November! It was so random and pleasantly unexpected. Actually no, I changed my mind again. The best part of meeting backpackers is having a free place to stay everywhere in the world and potentially meeting invaluable business partners ;)

Anyways, I've gone on a huge tangent when all I really wanted to say was that I personally think a better advertisement for tourists and cool backpackers is "Not recommended by Lonely Planet". Or better yet "Not even in the Lonely Planet!"

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