I don't care about a country, or the tourist attractions, truly to me, only good to be curious, and care about the actual people we meet.
Travel is Best When I Don’t Care About a Country
“Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out,
They leave the West behind”
Song, Back in the U.S.S.R. by The Beatles
I plan to spend 30-60 days enjoying the beaches of Odessa, and the city has more than 1 million residents, after 20 days, we are no longer a tourists. Cities under 50,000 are easy, I can normally walk the city, discover quickly the pros, and cons, while bigger cities means an almost certain failure. The longer the stay, the better the sample, but there are no guarantees, some cities just suck. Most cities have good places, fun, interesting, convenient for expats, foreigners, generally good places to live. Cultures are different, a whole country can feel, and, or be obnoxious, when radically different. Advice on the Internet is almost worthless, especially so in anonymous expat forums.
Therefore, I wrote a specific friend, sort of secretive guy, but super well traveled, mostly as a tourist, not really a traveler, but a super tourist, maybe 100 plus countries. I want the inside skinny, the underbelly story, the insider story, which is almost impossible to discover until feet are on the ground.
Big problem is this, 99 percent of people probably don’t like people, most stay home, which is a good place for them. Maybe 10 percent of expats like people, a higher percentage. And asking people, about nice people is off track, they like to talk about things, stuff, and sites, not people; we can get them to complain about people easy enough. Expats can be loosely grouped into three categories.
1. Wanted, basically wanted by their home country, so they leave.
2. Unwanted, nobody talked to them in their home country, so they went searching.
3. Hermits, people who love when nobody speaks their language, love place like China, Japan, Asia.
I am an expert at ignoring peoples problems, and finding good in people. However, trying to spur my friend on, hoping to learn a good neighborhood, I asked,
“Where do the whoremongers hang out?”
Ooops, I thought he could manage the word. These boys live good, have money, and truly only care about women, they are not in love with a country, or culture, some of the most self-serving, selfish boys on the planet. Sort of normal humans with a hobby, but the great part, they don’t care about the country, only the benefits.
His reply was,
“Maybe I am the wrong guy to ask......as I do not like expat areas. And the western whoremongers in Ukraine....well these beer gulping --- guys do not interest me much either.”
What about beer gulping… that defines most of Europe, and USA, most of the planet, most anybody with more money… Does not include West Africa, which is one reason I like to go to Togo, West Africa, almost no rich beer gulpers.
Now, he is the only guy I will sort of trust, so he is my only choice, talking to anonymous people on the Internet is sort of worthless. Most Americans and Europeans are afraid of Russians, and Ukrainian people, which is why I am going to Ukraine, for as the Beatles sang in their song, “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
I want to “Leave the west behind.’
“Whoremongers are brave, while tourists are naive.”
“I do prefer talking to those guys though over some lovesick person who tell me Thailand is the best place in the world while going native. But best place in the world??....compared to what?? they have never been anywhere else than their own country and Thailand.... naive... yessss.”
There are not many people who can compare countries, most people maybe sort of know one to three, most only know maybe one, and tourist are naive. I one hundred percent agree on his views of whoremongers, and expats can be brutal, all in all, travel is full of selfish desire, I suppose I could ask Volunteers, Missionaries, and Aid workers, but they are like whoremongers on a longer vacation, paid for by our money, a mixture of naive, selfish, and then delusional, truly the trifecta of problems, with a desire to be God.
What I want is curious, brave travelers, who do not care about the country, just want to visit, have no plans on falling in love with a place, a city, a culture, they just want to have a nice life, full of new experiences, new languages, new customs, new food.
Tourism is advertising, weaving spiders, who create stories to entice the naive into making expensive silly decision.
On bravery he wrote,
“Brave foreign people I find a lot in Atyrau the gateway to the Kazakh oil platforms, some of these guys have seen everything and stay completely calm while chaos erupt around them...... but they have NO interest at all in the country where they are....”
To sum it up perfectly, he then wrote,
“You and me have seen the world.... and we have some interest in the foreign countries we spend time in....not many people are like that. I see bravery but no interest, lovesick naive people who look through pink glasses and the idiotic traveller who stays only in tourist ghettos while chatting on Facebook.”
Well, that about sums it up, I still do not know a great place to hang out in Odessa, and I am thinking, maybe one week in 4 different neighborhoods may work, in the end, it is like a military, we need feet on the ground.
He wrapped it up so clearly, I wanted to share his insights, truly great. Yet, for me, the art of travel is to talk with anyone, everyone, to carry on a conversation with people we ignore at home, and find the good in them. Everyone has a story, but I am not going to invite everyone home to have dinner with my family.
I do not care much about the countries I meet, or the people in a country. Instead, I have learned to care about the people sharing the room, sharing my world, who talk with me, and believe saying “Hello,” has value, a smile, and hello from a stranger is the best the world has to offer, but lovesick, babble is not making the world a better place, what makes the world better is working hard to be friends. Hint: when a person ignores you, they are not friendly.
What I find great, the Hobo Talk Wall allows me to know real people, to read, to understand, nobody is perfect, but for sure, anonymous people on expat forums are not worth my time. We have a good thing happening on HoboTraveler.com, time to come out and play.
Your new friend,
Andy Lee Graham
July 4, 2018
Bratislava, Slovakia in the Patio Hostel