I’m about to turn 45. Not surprisingly, a guy can stack up a few regrets in that period of time. Stocks I could’ve bought. Women I should’ve called. Roads, if I’d had the time, I would’ve taken.
Which reminds me of my biggest regret so far in 2016: Following a travel blogger on Twitter (someone, often two someones, who break from the daily grind and earn a living from monetized blogs and websites).
Oh, it seemed harmless enough. “Globetrotters93 followed you”, and like most people trying to build a fan base, I clicked on their page, scrolled to make sure it wasn’t a robo-spammer, and followed back. But like the old Three Stooges movies, Curly didn’t know the closet was full of bowling balls until he turned the knob.
What happened next will blow your mind! Not really. I got an instant message thanking me for the followback, for taking this journey with them, and was welcomed to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and a PPV subscription to a GoPro helmet cam.
Nope. Unfollow. And I figured that was it.
But thanks to Twitter bots and auto-follow apps, it was just beginning. 2 am. 3 am. 4. The dam was cracked and there was no holding back the river of culture nomads, world wanderers, and carpe diem-ers who wanted me to share in their experiences. I got more pings than a prom queen writing “I’m lonely and my parents are out of town” on her Facebook page.
It got me thinking. How do they do it? How do the modern day Lewis and Clarks make it work?
How do you not gain 300 lbs?
I’ve seen a lot of pages and most can be boiled down to Places to See, Stay, and Eat. Photos of food get lots of attention, and I assume they’re actually swallowing it.
But gelato five days a week? Tunisian goat balls in curry sauce? Rice with a side of sticky rice and high calorie fish goo? There’s no way that strolling around town can burn that many calories.
How do you Coexist? Not like the bumper stickers…how do you not kill each other?
I get that you’re freeee as a birrrrd nowwww
and all that shit. But travel can be stressful, especially where driving a hundred km means different customs, laws, and languages. At some point, Traveler #1 blowing like a plastic bag in the breeze would make Traveler #2 ask to see the damned map. My guess is there are more people that start these quests than finish them, and one day we’ll find where the bodies are buried.
How do you afford it?
I recently met a couple, without children, who sold their house and headed off into the sunset. They didn’t give too many specifics, but apparently made enough to fund a few years jet setting. But for people without that kind of cash pile, how do you do it?
How can blog subscribers watch enough shitty clickbait ads to fund your island hopping in the South Pacific? Lagoon huts in Bora Bora. Windsurfing in Tahiti. Diving in Maldives. Is there more to the story? What jobs or services have you had to do for some shelter in Vietnam’s wet season?
And no, I don’t want to buy your God-damned book with all the answers! I’d rather complain about you and remain ignorant.
But thanks for following me on this journey!
P.S. If you’re good at reading between the lines, you’ve realized that I don’t actually regret following all the travelers. I regret that I didn’t think of it first.