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Travel Wankers

Mar 24th, 2013 by WanderingDawn | 6

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?

6 Comments on “Travel Wankers”


  1. Denise said:

    Heck yes!! My last encounter with TW went something like this: Where was the last place you visited? Me: Rome TW: OMG, that is SOOO quaint, how overtouristy can a place be? How did you even stand it? Me: Rome is the capital of Italy, the capital of the ancient world and contains some of the most beautiful art in the world! TW: Ugh, I bet you even went to the Trevi Fountain? Me: Yup, the Sistine Chapel, too. AND I ate gelato…at GROM!!! TW: When you want to REALLY travel, let me know.
    LOL..I’m up for Rome and Florence any day! There are many tourists there for good reason!


  2. WanderingDawn said:

    HA!!!! That is it Denise, he was definitely a Wanker.


  3. Jenna said:

    Ha! That’s great–travel wanker–I love that term! Definitely have ran into a few, unfortunately. They weren’t quite that bad though–sounds like a real pain!


  4. Freya said:

    haha that’s hilarious, luckily I did not meet many TWs yet :)


  5. Casey said:

    Travel Wankers! I’m so happy there’s a term for them now! I moved from Los Angeles to Vienna this year, and it was a pretty big step for my just out of college self. I was feeling quite adventurous until someone said something along the lines of “Well, going to Europe is barely even traveling right? Like, go to Asia and THEN you can say you’re a REAL traveler.” Uhm…thanks?


  6. WanderingDawn said:

    BHAHAHA CASEY!!!! That person was definitely a TW.

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