Sometimes fellow travelers can be a source of consternation. Here are a few that had me scratching my head:

The pot heads. Picture a roof top in a small village in the Amazon. About four other travelers appear, walk towards me and within the first two sentences we realize we share a common language. Next question: Do you smoke pot? Me: No. They turn around and walk away without saying another word.

The missionaries. I believe in “live and let live” and, as George Carlin so eloquently said, “thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself”. I have little understanding or patience for someone trying to impose their beliefs on me.

The fresh out of the military service. Young people who’ve lived by strict rules for a while and need to vent. They seem to have difficulties identifying the line they cross when they go from exploring their own freedom to invading the freedom of others. Respect and consideration for and interest in their host culture don’t seem to be part of their priorities.

The drunks. People who travel thousands of miles to drink all night, sleep all day and leave a trail of garbage in their wake.

Fellow travelers


The snobs. Long-term backpackers who looked down on anyone traveling for less than 6 months at a time. Or people who’ve spent 5 minutes in a country and then “know it all”.

The heir. On the boat from Pucallpa to Iquitos, there was a guy who had inherited a lot of money from his grandmother. He used the money to travel the world and experiment with different kinds of narcotics.

The tour group. At a market in Peru I came across members of a European tour group who wanted to buy local art. They addressed the Quechua lady in their own language and got upset when she didn’t understand what they were asking. They passed judgment while seeing the world through bus windows and the occasional stop.