Skip to content

Call Me Irredeemably Uncool

January 20, 2010

This post is going to permanently earn me the title of ‘totally and irredeemably uncool old fart.’  But I am passionate about this.

I read an article recently about a big travel agency that has published a “bucket list” of travel experiences everyone “must have” by the time they reach the ripe old age of 30.

And they are offering deals to assist the more lemming-like among the under 30 crowd in achieving this noble goal.

They say:

Our Top 10 travel experiences are a must-do before you end up trying to relive your youth DJ-ing at your grandkids birthday parties, so get out there and tick off the Top 10 and make your grandkids proud!

Aside from the problems with grammar, I also have a few problems with their logic. 

Maybe it’s because I’m over 30, but I can’t for the life of me discern a causal link between the main points.  How does ticking off the Top 10 prevent one from trying to relive their youth by DJ-ing at the grandkids [sic] birthday parties?  How does DJ-ing at the grandkids [sic] birthday parties enable one to relive their youth? 

And how does ticking off the Top 10 ensure that the grandkids will in fact be proud?  Or will their reaction more likely be You pissed away my inheritance on a bucket list?  And speaking of my inheritance, when are you going to kick the bucket?

But that’s not even what’s most important.

It is the use of the terms “must-do” and “tick off.”

I’ve done a little travelling and I always thought that destinations should be chosen based in what I want to do.  “Must do” travel was when I had to get up at four in the morning on a winter’s day to fly to a meeting to scrape an angry client off the ceiling. 

What’s worse is that people, under 30 or otherwise, might actually believe that this really is a “must do” list.  That these are the things that define travel and life experiences.  That anything else you may do will pale in comparison and you will be unfriended right, left and center on Facebook and Twitter as a total loser unless you post pictures of yourself at those places.

So much for individuality.

So what are these Top Ten destinations, I hear you asking. 

According to the list, you are “supposed” to be “party[ing] (all night) in Vegas.”  They included the parenthetical “all night,” just in case anyone was unsure about whether they would be living a truly full life if they only partied for part of the night 

And how does one “party” all night in Vegas?

Once you’ve finished that, you are supposed to do the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party in Thailand.  Being a totally and irredeemably uncool old fart, I had to Google that one.  KP is an island where on each full moon night they have a huge beach party.  With 1,000 of your closest friends.  I get the impression that the rest of the time it is a nice island resort.  One web site makes the puzzling observation:  “Come and enjoy the party and nature together.  You’ll be surprised that they can come together as naturally as the body and soul.” 

I’m glad someone mentioned nature.   The objective of the party, as far as I can tell, is to “rock and drink.”  That’s fine, but why burn a lot of fossil fuel and generate a lot of carbon to fly to Thailand when you can rock and drink at home?

Then you have to “Party in Rio de Janeiro.”

Not to belabour a point, but let’s project this out a few years.  Let’s say you are a Gen Y who has dutifully ticked off all the items on the bucket list.  You are bouncing your grandchild on your knee.  He or she is proud of you for having done the bucket list.  At least that’s what you expect because that’s what you’ve been told.  I imagine the conversation going something like this:

Grandma and Grandpa, tell me about the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party you went to!

Mmm, that was a long time ago.  It’s a little hazy.  About all I remember is that’s where I got this tattoo on my shoulder.  When it was up here it looked like a dragon.  Grandma got her belly button pierced there, too.  No, you can’t see it.  Neither can she.

About the only things on the list that might make someone think about humanity and culture are “Visit the pyramids in Egypt,” and “Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.”  But just between you and me, the only thing you think about while hiking the Inca Trail is not falling to your death. 

And as far as I can tell, the only reason they have included the Pyramids is because you can get a cool picture of yourself taken on a camel and you can post it on Facebook and show your friends that you are living a full life.  Plus there’s a McDonalds and KFC right across the street so it’s not like you’ll be inconvenienced. 

My second objection is to the term “tick off.”

You don’t go to “experience,” “learn,” or “become immersed in.”  Your objective is to “tick off” the items on the list. 

That idea really ticks me off.

I’ve seen a lot of tick off tourists lately.  If you watch them in action you get the impression that their objective is not to be there and enjoy themselves.  The objective is to sail through everything as quickly as possible, take as many pictures as possible, find an internet café to post the pictures and, yes, tick the place off on their list.  Just three more countries and I’ll have the Western Hemisphere out of the way.

Now what do I do for the rest of my life?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 12:49 pm

    Join me and be glad that this is out there. The likes of me and you will have the best places and moments to ourselves for savoring because … all the under-thirties will be partying in Vegas (all night).

    I half suspect that you planted the article to get rid of them.

  2. January 21, 2010 5:26 pm

    Yes, I think Hannibal would have approved of the diversionary tactic!

  3. January 23, 2010 9:36 am

    I find it amazing and kind of funny that people might feel compelled to do something because some self-appointed authority–which happens here to be a corporate entity with a commercial interest in the topic–says they should do it. Then there is a kind of converse, or reverse, or something, phenomenon, in which the public at large is invited to reply to a poll. For instance, “Do you think the U.S. should get out of Afghanistan? Vote yes or no.” Well, who cares how a random assortment of the general public responds at that moment? In both cases, what is needed (and missing) is a thoughtful or knowledgeable or just plain interesting opinion on the subject. I enjoyed your exploration of this.

  4. January 26, 2010 6:53 pm

    Ha ha. You have a great knack for making stories out of “annoying things in life.” I reckon we all need a TES story generator to take with us wherever we go. Curious about the client on the ceiling. Did you talk him down? Sgx

    • January 26, 2010 9:48 pm

      Thanks! As far as the client on the ceiling, that was just part of my job description–in fact I gave it a name: “a spatula meeting,” referring to the idea of scraping the client off the ceiling with a spatula. Talk about “annoying things in life!”

  5. May 15, 2010 1:20 am

    My husband and I spent one night in Vegas in January this year. We couldn’t get out fast enough. We managed to spend less than 24 hours in Vegas. Being there wasn’t part of any bucket list, we just flew there to pick up a car we purchased for our business and drove it back to Minnesota. We had more fun at our unplanned stop in the Snowy Mountains outside of Laramie, Wy where we rented snowmobiles and spent my 50th birthday snowmobiling in the mountains.

    You can add us to the group of “Old Farts and irredeemedly uncool”. As far as bucket lists go, I think as people are focused on their lists they miss the point of living and the opportunities that may present along the way.

  6. May 15, 2010 6:10 pm

    Thanks for the birthday wish!

    After taking my husband up for his first flight with me as pilot he asked me what was next on my list. I don’t have a bucket list. I think he was afraid I would say I wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

    I’m having a great deal of fun reading your older posts since I just found your blog this week.

    • May 15, 2010 8:10 pm

      I think it’s amazing that you’ve taken up flying. Congratulations!

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts. Thanks for reading and for the feedback.

  7. May 16, 2010 2:45 am

    Thanks for the congrats! I enjoyed reading in one of your posts about flying near the mountains. Its s0mething I would like to do in the future after I have a few more hours in my logbook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: