After a hellish journey trying to get off the island of Koh Chang I eventually boarded a minibus which transferred me onto a bigger bus heading for the Cambodian border. It was on here when my travels really began. As soon as I climbed aboard I sensed a change in atmosphere. It was the people. |
From the minute I left the UK I’d been searching for some like-minded people, explorers and adventurers, open-minded and independent-thinking, the same people that I had met many years ago on my previous travels, but instead I found cloned tourists that didn’t really want to be there. The traveling circuit has changed, because society and the way we vacation has changed.
It is now considered a bit uncouth or too ‘normal’ for people from the UK to go to Spain or Greece for their holidays, as well as the fact that most people have already been, and Asia and South America are now that much more accessible. Unfortunately, most people go in blind and for the wrong reasons.
Everywhere I went I saw people with their heads buried in their laptop, talking online to their friends on Facebook and telling them all how ‘amazing’ their holiday was. The trouble was, they never looked around or actually ‘lived’ their holiday, they just photographed it and stored it in order to show it off to their friends back home.
Goa was full of people trying hard to fit in, but to fit in to what? These places, which usually come without the boutique-style attractions of resorts, are the sort of places where the best things on offer are free, like the beach and the sunshine, and where you make your own fun.
Goa had a reputation as a magic place but that was in a different era when it was populated by different people, people who have now found pastures new. It offered a life of simplicity, where you could simply exist and enjoy the unique beauty of just relaxing, discovering a new culture in your own time, and, above all, meeting other people doing the same. You didn’t look around for things to do, you just spent a long time doing nothing, every now and then interspersed with moments of action and parties.
These parties, and this is important, were off the cuff shenanigans, ‘organized’ on the spot and for the hell of it, with no starting time and certainly no clear cut finishing time. Nowadays, there were no informal beach parties to speak of, and no informal jam sessions going on in the dead of night round the campfire.
Thailand was even further down the road, with its litany of exclusive resorts towering over the old-style huts, and even Lonely Beach, the place to head to in order to supposedly get away from the tourists, was over-populated with the same sort of people. People who were expecting someone else to organize the party. And, above all, people who were too cool, or too scared to talk to their neighbours.
And this is the crux of it. Goa and Thailand used to be places where anybody would talk to anybody, easy and laid back without any fuss. The new style of traveler doesn’t go in for this. They stick to themselves and try and act cool, trying to hide the fact they are not quite sure how to behave. So, what do they do? They go on Facebook, waste some time and avoid having to talk to anyone.
I’m a pretty sociable guy but I found most people mirrored their surroundings and lived like islands, looking especially nervous and awkward when they had to talk to the people sitting at the next table. And this is not what it used to be like.
But Goa and Thailand are not on the real traveler circuit anymore, they’ve been done to death and people have moved on. And this was why I was excited about going to Cambodia, especially since everyone I met kept telling me how dangerous and backwards it was, and how there was nothing to do there apart from visiting Angkor Wat and the beaches of Sihanoukville.
That was music to my ears because I refused to believe a whole country had nothing to offer apart from those two things. And, also, because backwater countries attract a better type of person, a more intuitive sort, a more adventurous sort, the sort who like to forge their own way as much as possible, something which is practically impossible these days since there is no place left undiscovered. And I was going there. And moving further away from the disappointment of where I’d been.
And my journey started as soon as I boarded the bus...
John Owens Is a writer for Vacations rental homes and holiday homes and rental condos rented directly from the owner of the vacation rental home.
Related Articles -
vacation rentals, holiday homes, villas for rent,