There are many types of travelers in the world – some who stick to a routine and visit the same destination every year and others with the resources and wanderlust that never keeps them in one place for long.
That word “resources” is important because let’s face it, whatever type of traveler you are, it takes time, planning, and most of all, money.
But now, certain people (take a guess) have come up with a way to see the world without resources of any kind and they’re annoying the crap out of the rest of us.
Entitlement, privilege, excuses, oh my!
Look, I’m really not some crotchety old woman who hates young people. In fact, I like most people in general and adore my three millennial children.
But, seriously, there is a reason that the word “millennial” has become synonymous with being spoiled, entitled, and lazy.
It by no means applies to everyone in this generation, but there seems to have been some unseen cultural shift that’s turned many of today’s young people into brats.
I don’t know why, because people in my generation, and that of my parents’, and The Greatest Generation of my grandparents sure as heck knew that hard work was the key to success.
But millennials like to know everything (and think they do), so they want to travel and see what everyone else is doing.
And that’s led us to a mind-numbing new travel trend.
It’s a new kind of social “I’m woke” experiment, one where they put their faith in the overall goodness of humanity to prove they won’t be turned away in their hour of “need.”
I beg your pardon?
Begging – it’s a word that seems to have a negative connotation nowadays.
Teenager: “I’m begging you to let me wear next to nothing and go on a date with this guy with pierced eyelids.”
Dogs: “Whine, whine, I’m starving. It’s been five minutes since I ate. Give me a piece of that steak.”
But its true meaning is to “ask earnestly and humbly” for something that is truly needed.
There are people all over the world standing on street corners begging for help – help they truly need to eat or stay warm for the night.
And that’s why people are seriously annoyed, disgusted, and incensed by the latest trend known as “begpacking.”
“Begpacking” is just another alarming idea that young travelers have come up with in order to travel the world—on someone else’s dime.
It’s exactly as the name implies.
These mostly Western, mostly white, almost always young – aka “millennial” – people are traveling to far-flung destinations so they can say they’re worldly and intellectual and better than you and me.
They’re coming from the U.S., Britain, and Australia – developed, first-world countries – and sitting on street corners in Southeast Asia mostly, sometimes South America – in countries like Vietnam and Thailand. Third-world countries.
And they’re begging. Begging for spare change or big bucks so they can experience the local culture in all its glory – without paying for it themselves.
How do they get there? Probably with a pricey airline ticket paid for by Mom and Dad or someone else who took pity on their need to “grow and experience and find the meaning of life.”
Sometimes they’ll “busk” – like playing music or painting pictures or offering photos of their journey. But more often than not, they’ll just hold up little cardboard signs asking for help to continue their trip.
Not “I’m starving” or “I’m homeless.” Nope, they just want to keep traveling. And they’re asking people who may actually be starving or homeless to help them.
Audacious, stupid, unbelievable? Yep — it takes some serious cojones.
And it’s annoying.
Seriously annoying to the local communities that are being overrun with begpackers. They’re begging from people who can barely feed and house their own families, let alone some stranger who feels that work inhibits their spirit.
It’s also annoying to real travelers who have saved for years to visit a unique and exotic location.
It’s annoying to missionaries and charity workers who have come to help those who truly need it in these nations.
It’s become so bad that local governments are working on plans to crack down on these begpackers. Some are being asked to prove to local immigration officials that they can actually afford to travel when they enter the country.
Others are being sent home due to “anti-busking” laws and some are being hauled off to the embassy of their home country for a good lecture.
Once there, they’ll sigh heavily, wipe away a tear, and claim to have lost their wallet or passport.
And that’s another group they’re annoying – the kids who actually saved up to travel and really did lose their wallet or passport and really do need help.
I’m a slacker; you’re a slacker…
Ticked off yet? You will be after this.
These begpackers aren’t just a handful of entitled, privileged, and clueless individuals who think it’s cool to travel to third-world countries and see how far they can get on nothing but their personalities.
Oh no. It’s a full-on, concerted effort. There’s actually an organized group – one of several – with their own website that will tell you how to do it.
Here’s what the “Backslackers” are telling the other slacker-hopefuls about going to countries where there is rampant poverty and homelessness. Those people know how to beg, they say.
But… why can’t YOU do it too? Aren’t you technically poor? Aren’t you technically homeless? Why shouldn’t YOU cash in too? Why shouldn’t other people pay for you to travel?
Look for an empty street corner, they say. Find a “real beggar” and set up next to them, they say. Locals will feel sorry for you, we promise!
It’s the perfect low-effort way to fund your travels so you don’t have to go into debt to travel or save any money beforehand! Not sure how to start begpacking? Here are some suggestions to get you out of your country, on the road, and on the street in no time!
They’re even staying at homeless shelters, taking beds and meals from actual homeless locals – stealing the services away from more-deserving individuals – just for the heck of it.
And in 2016, two young men set out in South America with no money to make a film about how to travel without money – by relying on the kindness of those less fortunate. The documentary was called – what else – Free Ride.
Okay, seriously?!! This is where millennials are getting their bad reputation. And if you’re a good, hard-working kid who just happened to be born into the same generation as these losers, you should be majorly offended.
Begpackers, like the Backslackers, are even setting up GoFundMe and Kickstarter campaigns because – why not?
Then all their travel expenses will be paid for so they can go beg in poverty-stricken lands and gain “life experience.”
Here’s a tip: If you want to travel — work hard, save your money, and then get out there and learn amazing things from other cultures.
If you want to travel by making others feel guilty and uncomfortable because they’re decent human beings, you’re a jerk. (And that’s not the word I would prefer to use.)
Grow up, get a job, and leave the locals in these countries alone so they can take care of themselves and their families.
And don’t even think about asking me to contribute to your GoFundMe campaign. There are real people with real problems out there I’d much rather help.
The ‘busk’ stops here.