Australian tourists love whinging about Australian tourists… But isn’t that a tad hypocritical?
Don’t believe us? Just read The Beach or listen to the inevitable dick measuring contest that happens most nights at most hostels (“oh, you’ve hiked to Everest Basecamp with no water, no phone and only a map and compass? Well I crawled it and subsisted on insects the whole time; then did it a second time just for fun”).
One of the prime ways we try to seek more verdant pastures is with boarding passes. Escaping people similar to ourselves. Escaping ourselves, even. This is so prominent it’s become a bit of a fetish, with many Australians seeing things (whether that’s an alcohol brand or an inflatable pink flamingo) as being classier simply because they’re from overseas.
There are a few problems with this though. First: it’s hypocritical. Second: in many cases, it’s flat out wrong (Italy’s beaches may seem classier than Australia’s, for instance, but they are nowhere near as comfortable…).
So: why do so many Australians find it so irksome to have ‘their’ holiday spots bespoiled by tourists? Why do we spend so much of our time complaining about other holidaymakers? Why do we think that because we’ve shucked our Bintang shirt and bought a pair of Birkenstocks we’re suddenly better than our thong-wearing compatriots?
This discussion was had over the weekend after Instagram account The Canggu Pole posted the following image to Instagram.
Comments on the post brilliantly skewered the act of complaining about Aussie tourists… as an Aussie tourist. One remark read: “I’m a better tourist than you because I’ve toured longer.”
Another was: “Lol this is so accurate. Like who are you? WE LIVE HERE.” Another said: “Back when it was still rice fields.”
“Saying ‘tolong boleh minta satu lagi latte’ real loud so everyone knows I’m ‘from here.'”The Canggu Pole
To be fair, it’s not just Australian tourists who love to complain about other tourists. There has been a spate of ‘Instagram vs. Reality’ videos lately where travellers from all sorts of corners of the world have a laugh about how different many popular destinations are compared to the romantic images people imagine of them.
Blogger JessieOnAJourney summed it up well, too, when talking about how her frustration with tourists in New York made her realise she did more or less the same things when she was travelling abroad.
“As my face burns red with frustration, Cristen [a friend of JessieOnAJourney] turns to me calmly and asks, ‘And what do you think you’re like when you visit other countries, Miss World Traveler?'”JessieOnAJourney
Another interesting theory, and one that might explain the ongoing huffiness of tourists, was offered by William Finnegan and Bryan di Salvatore way back in 1979.
They wrote, for an article in Australian surf magazine Tracks: “But the heaviest cross that these subsequent waves must bear is knowing that they are following, not leading. As sweet as the final reward may be, the knowledge of being an ‘also’ results in a huffiness, an elitism that grows louder as it spreads wider.”
“The later the appearance at a Discovery, the huffier and more insecure the arrivisie.”Tracks
Food for thought. Good luck and safe travels – with all the cancellations and delays going on, you’re going to need it.