One of the World’s most feared and unlikable species, they can be found in every corner of the Earth, waiting for you with menacing eyes and flapping tongues, a species that suck you in and then give you little option of escape as they disembowel you with bullshit… ladies and gents, the Travel Wanker.
Sadly, the majority of us have encountered one or more of them in our lives, some more than they wish to admit, and they are everywhere. They scavenge hostels, hotels, dinner parties, bus journeys and airports looking for unsuspecting victims with ears that will bend to their whim. In the interest of sanity and maintaining any kind of happiness in such situations, this species must be avoided at all costs. The worst characteristic of this sub-species is their ignorance in their own ignorance, few of their kind will ever be aware of their travel wanker status, and even fewer will let the poor wankers know who and what they really are.
This poses a threat to us all, if there is no single moment of realisation, then how will you know? The best practice for us all is to deconstruct the symptoms of this horrid ailment and aim to avoid each and every one of them. Let’s get the ball rolling here with some of the traits of the loathsome Travel Wanker.
A classic move of the Travel Wanker, when in conversations, is the links that they can manufacture to tell you of their visit to some far-flung place. One minute you are discussing the merits of the wonderful invention of cats eyes, the next you hear the wanker pipe up – “That reminds of the time that I was face to face with a lion on the Serengeti.” – Don’t mistake me, I love nothing more than crazy stories from around the World from people who’ve been there and done it, but it’s the shameless crow-barring of stories from left field that gives me the urge to rabbit punch these fuckers in their floating rib. Swap stories by all means, absolutely be proud of your travels, but lose the ostentatious swagger in situations that don’t call for it otherwise you’re on a slippery slope to wankersville.
This is a tricky one to watch out for but forewarned is forearmed, these sly wankers take tedious linking to the next level. Perhaps they’re conscious of those that crow-bar and hijack conversations. With that in mind they engineer the conversation from its beginnings and lead you down a surreptitious path of fake-care about your life. They reel you in slow then KAZAM, they hit you with their tales of woe in the South China sea, their exhilarating expedition to a Central American volcano and their moment of clarity on the Bolivian salt flats expecting you to give a shit in a reciprocal manor, which of course, you foolishly do at the time. You can be forgiven for this, this type of wanker is well-trained their craft and crave an audience so much that you were just today’s unfortunate victim. Keep your eyes open guys!
Mine’s Bigger Than Yours
Should you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation like I did several weeks ago, a hapless and unsuspecting filling that has been sandwiched by wankers, then I will tell you now that short of running away singing ‘la-la-la-la’ at the top of your lungs with your fingers in your ears, there is no escape. In these instances you will see the sorry sight of wanker-pride competing with his or her nemesis in a dick-measuring competition that nobody can win. There will be no victor as the only impartial judge will be you, and the likelihood is, you won’t give a fuck. I was in the company of some friends recently, both of whom have travelled extensively and I thoroughly enjoyed their timely anecdotes and tales of misdemeanours, note ‘timely’, when expressed in line with conversation these stories entertain me and evoke wanderlust in my spirit. When driven into my ear with thoughtless swagger it evokes Charles Manson tendencies and an urge to commit Hari-Kari.
The Class Based Wanker
The class system doesn’t solely operate in social consciousness or economic structures, oh no, some of the wankers love to adopt the class-based approach. The snide, snobby and sneering attitudes of the been-there-done-that branch of the species love nothing more than to stomp on your travel history with their one-upmanship and deplorable derision. This is a dinner party special, you’ll be telling your jovial tale of a visit to Niagara Falls when the wanker verbally strong-arms you and begins telling of his 4 day trek through jungle terrain, surviving vigilantes and living on the faeces of a Howler Monkey to witness the ‘splendour’ of Angel Falls. The class-based wanker manages to fuse all forms of this odious behaviour into one, they display signs of the Sneaky Engineer, the Tedious Linkers and play Mine is Bigger Than Yours with gusto, they are like the holy trinity of wankerdom with additional condescension. These, ladies and gents, are the Kings and Queens of the Travel Wanker Castle, a castle with no admission fee but one where you must leave a piece of your soul in order to depart.
The sad truth of this situation is that at any time, any one of us that has had one or many amazing travel experiences could become that which we loathe. Sadly for us, we must live with the daily battle’s of avoiding wanker status and evading those that, through little fault of their own, have gained it. The future of the species is unclear, neither Darwin nor god itself could ever have envisioned, let alone accounted for an existence of such abominable behaviour. Which morbidly leaves us all with the challenge to face them on our own with the only tool of defence being our awareness and our ignorance, tools that they have deftly learned to use against us, good luck out there comrades.