This is one of my favorite descriptors learned while traveling. We first heard it used in an article we read in Australia. Once we learned what a travel wanker was, we wondered how we had gone so long without a definition for a, well, wanker.
A travel wanker is the traveler who has to constantly one- up you. And I know you have all experienced a travel wanker. A conversation with a travel wanker would go something like this:
YOU: Hi, nice to meet you! Where are you from?
TRAVEL WANKER (TW): Originally I am from Blah-Blah, but I fancy myself a nomad and traveler.
YOU: Oh really? Where was your last stop?
TW: I just left Southeast Asia.
YOU: Really? Us too! We loved it there! The people were amazing.
TW: Did you go to Burma?
YOU: No, we didn’t have time.
TW: Oh my gosh, it’s like you didn’t even GO to Southeast Asia! Burma is amazing, it is so unspoiled. I go off the backtracker trail myself, to all sorts of undiscovered places, before it becomes mainstream and touristed. I go where the locals go.
YOU: We hope to go in the future.
TW: Humph. Well, anyway, I am an avid traveler, where else have you been?
YOU: Um, well, last year we went to Ireland.
TW: Ireland,yes, I have been there. And Scotland, and England, and Iceland. Everywhere up in that corner of the world. You?
YOU: No, we have only been to Ireland.
TW: Oh, that’s too bad, you really missed out. By the time you get up there it won’t be the same, it will be all touristed and ruined. Anyway, last year when I was in Borneo at this Orangutan rescue organization…..blah, blah , blah….which was after I backpacked thru Malaysia…..blah, blah, blah
And so the conversation goes. Anyway you have been, TW has been, and has had a much more authentic and enjoyable time than you did. Everywhere TW has been, and you haven’t yet, is a lost opportunity for you and you will never get to have the experiences TW did. Anything you can do, TW can do better. Anything you haven’t done, TW is not surprised. Not everyone can be the amazing traveler that TW is. The conversation is less of a volley back and forth, and more of a discussion of where TW has been. Tell us, TW, is there any place you haven’t been? We thought we were good travelers until we met you! Boy, were we wrong!
And how about you? Have you met any Travel Wankers in your time? What was your conversation like?