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Wikipedia´s take on backpackers

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1. Posted by TylerJames (Respected Member 333 posts) 10y

cool article

check it out

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backpacking_%28travel%29

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

On a slightly related note:

I read an article in the local paper today (I think it was originally from the London Times) that said more and more "older people" were opting to stay in hostels while travelling. And what example do they use to prove their point? A 30-year-old. Hmph!!!

3. Posted by Whitehead (Budding Member 32 posts) 10y

Tway,

I think what your local jounalist means to say is something more about how people who stay in hostels seem to continue doing it. This is a compliment! He is actually (Kindly) pointing out that you are still having fun! Wait till the children and wife and morgage come, then you'll see my point ;)

Andrew

4. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Ah whitehead
Children, marriage and mortgage are no longer the end of it, either. For not more than a year or two anyway.
I have a 5 year old daughter, mortgage and boyfriend. Within the last year, i went to Ireland, Prague, Slovenia, France, and I am going to Thailand and Ireland again, before the year is out. I travel, sometimes with daughter and boyfriend and sometimes without. Of course i did more travelling, before my daughter came along. But now i do have a nice balance of it all. Family and Fun.

Mel

5. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Tway
30, older????????????!!!! Bah!!!!!!!!!!
I am 37.
Mel

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

The article on Wikipedia made me uneasy. While it was well written and mostly balanced in it's approach, I did find it a little self-serving to the backpacker community by presenting as "fact" some thing that are opinion, arguing away legitimate complaints about tourism through rationalizations making backpacking seem less impactful than other tourism types and perputuating some of the stereotypes that backpackers think about themselves and they way they chose to travel (specifically about the "authenic" experience backpackers get).

For example, the statement, "most backpackers would like to interact with locals..." is presented as a fact, but who can say if that is true or not. You could, of course, argue that it's true, but it ultimately comes down to an opinion.

I think the whole article soured for me when I saw a section on the "philosphy" of backpacking. There's an underlying implication that backpacking is more philosphical than packaged tours or cruise travel, which I think is complete bull. Everyone has a reason that resonates with them for the travel they do and the why they do it. The reasons that a person decides to go on a cruise might not seem important and valuable to the backpacker, and I think the backpacking community has a tendency to dismiss those reasons as uncultured or ignorant or trivial (I certainly know that I have, and probably will continue to), but just because it doesn't mean something to us doesn't mean that we should dismiss it.

I'll admit that I have talked down about packaged tours and cruisers in the past. I've talked about how much more authenic my travel experiences are then those cruising by me in the air conditioned bus is. But I do struggle with whether that's really true, or whether that's me trying to puff myself up and build a differentiator between myself (as a self-defined backpacker) and the rest of the tourists in the world.

7. Posted by s_hoot (Respected Member 497 posts) 10y

I really like the quote in there from John Gregory:

"Those spending big bucks for guided travel get peace-of-mind in return. They are guaranteed no worries, no hassles, an experience as close as possible to being home, without being home. They get an hour and fifteen minutes for the guaranteed-open museum, then a two-hour sightseeing ride that catches all the picture-postcard highlights. They break for lunch at a "recommended" restaurant, where the food is reasonable and ordering is easy. And as the next bus pulls in they re-board theirs to repeat the routine, ending with an easy check-in at a reasonable hotel, populated with plenty of other tourists, pretty much like themselves.
While all travel is good for the human spirit, budget backpacking is unparalleled for meeting people and experiencing worlds on their own intimate terms. There are many travelers who have the resources for pampered-class but choose to strap on a backpack and see the world via the seat-of-their-pants, because they know it's the best way to experience cultures and interact with local people."

I like the part about seeing the world, via the seat-of-their-pants. Never thought of explaining backpacking that way.

8. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 10y

I just came home from a month long combined backpacking/guided tour through central europe. It's the third time I've done this sort of month long combined trip.

What is "authentic"? Everyone goes to see the Eiffel tower in Paris, backpacker or tour group. The chance of you stopping to talk to the street vendor in broken French is as likely during a backpacking trip as on a tour. The chances of you stepping away from the tourist spots to see how the locals live is as likely during a tour as when you're backpacking. It's all what you decide to do.

Yes, backpackers have more freedom. But that freedom has a price. More time spent on planning your next stop or where to eat or stuck at train stations is less time seeing the sights. On the other hand, yes, the "very specially arranged tour" to the Florentine glass factory during my packaged tour was a little cheesy.

My only beef is with the superior attitude some people take on with respect to how other people choose to travel. I think those that have to feel superior to other people just don't get it. Life is about living, any and every experience is worthwhile.

9. Posted by TylerJames (Respected Member 333 posts) 10y

[. Life is about living, any and every experience is worthwhile.]

totaly

10. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

Quoting Q_

My only beef is with the superior attitude some people take on with respect to how other people choose to travel. I think those that have to feel superior to other people just don't get it. Life is about living, any and every experience is worthwhile.

Agreed.

I have thought it over, and my biggest problem with the article isn't what's written, it's where it's presented. It's not that I necessarily disagree with what's written, it's that it is presented on Wikipedia, which is an ENCYCLOPEDIA. That gives it a sense of being factual and true, and not opinion. If the article appeared as it is in some magazine like CONDE NASTE or something as an opinion pice, then I probably wouldn't have batted an eye. But as it is presented in an encyclopedia, it gives statements that are the authors opinions as fact.

Greg