Uh-oh Miss Orrock, the teacher, is now preaching. Forget Gemma the travel blogger from Two Scots Abroad, the professor is in the house.
Craig (my partner, the other half of Two Scots Abroad) and I have been on the road over seven weeks now and we’ve been to immense places such as Frenchmen Street, New Orleans; SXSW music festival in Austin; penguin spotting at Islas Bellestas (Peru); sand – skiing in Huachachina; Trekking in The Colca Canyon and to Machu Picchu. Along the way we’ve met interesting; funny and unusual (unusual is good) travellers and locals alike.
Unfortunately, we’ve also been in the company of horrible travellers and that’s the thinking behind this article- How to be a good (and safe) traveller.
Leave impressions, not footprints
We were disgusted at the mess left at one of the popular party hostels in Lima, Peru. We love a party, we are Scottish! Nothing wrong with a few Pisco sours and Cusquena beers to celebrate being in a new town with new friends but pick up after yourself. Your mum isn’t with you to clean your behind, put your rubbish in the trash! Ps. There is an outstanding sunset at approximately 18:15 down at the Larcomar in Lima, go see it, it’s free! The booze will still be there when you return.
Tour guides are not drug dealers
Juanito, one of our tour guides and one of the happiest people we’ve ever met, told us that many travellers (of the male, Western variety) ask him to find them cocaine. On the one occasion he’d been drinking with new “friends” and against his better judgment he did submit, the ‘customer’ was not happy with the quality and took it out on Juanito. Not cool and lessoned learned for Juanito. We’ve heard of many silly travellers purchasing cocaine in Colombia, setting up the transaction on their lonesome and leaving unhurt but mugged.
We’ve whizzed around Peru via Peru Hop, the hop on/off bus service and through this have met really sound travellers (including a 9 month old baby with her bohemian parents!) and locals. The company employ Peruvian guides to chaperone the bus ride and assist you on trips. Carlos, our first guide, told us that there was a landslide during one journey and the bus could not progress. Some of the travellers were moaning as they couldn’t get off the bus for a smoke. Local people died in that landslide.
Too many times have we seen tourists take photos of locals when they clearly don’t want to be in front of the lens. It’s painful to watch. On the floating islands near Puno, Peru, we watched a woman lean between a couple selling their products. The man looked away and the wife bowed her head. What did the tourist do? Pulled the wife in closer! Honestly. Our walking tour guide in Arequipa warned us not to take photos of Quechan* (Inca) people unless you have permission as they believe that the camera can affect their soul. Definitely don’t take photos of their llamas and alpacas, their culture tells them that this will bring them misfortune in farming. There are women and llamas in all of the bigger cities of Peru who ask if you want a photo for money, save your snaps for those chicas.
Recycle and re-use
We are in no way role models for saving the planet but we try and do our bit. After five weeks of purchasing water bottles in South East Asia we did a bit of research on filtering and purifying water bottles. The one we purchased was only £30, which we’ve made back on savings from purchasing cheap water bottles as well as doing ‘our bit.’
Finding yourself, whilst bragging
Yuck. No one needs to hear about the untapped talents, which are within you, yearning to burst out. Go find them quietly. And we don’t need to hear about the stress of having no pages left in your passport. Oh the stress! I’m pretty certain the scuba doing in Koh Tao was just as pretty in the Cocos Islands. It’s not a competition.
On the whole you guys are cool. We respect that you have left your hometowns in pursuit of new cultures, experiences and personal development, for that I give you a gold star sticker. But just remember not to switch the light on at 03:00 in a ten-bed dorm.
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