One of the best parts of traveling is all the amazing people you meet along the way. I have met wonderful new friends throughout the world in hostels, in restaurants, in churches and even in the Jordain Desert. Of course, one of the worst parts of travel can be dealing with the less pleasant people you also sometimes encounter. I like to refer to these people as the Lowest Common Denominators of Humanity - the LCDS.
Often disguised as other travelers, locals or service industry professionals, the LCDs will try and ruin your trip just by existing. They might be in your hostel, or they might be on your flight, they might even be your travel partner – whatever the case may be, the key is to not let these LCDs get you down.
LCD #1: The Judger
You have ventured more than 100 miles from your hometown for a week in which you are not participating in gainful employment. You therefore must be rich, spoiled, afraid of hard work and a general lag about. Right? Well, that’s what this person will have you, and everyone around you believe. They are the judger.
On my trip to Amsterdam, I got off my overnight plane and boarded a metro to get into the city at 7:30am. After walking 5 blocks in the rain carrying my bags I finally arrived at my opium den of a hostel, eager to check in and eat breakfast. I introduced myself at the front desk and started working on the check in paper work. As I fished my passport out of my purse, the front desk attendant smirked and said “So what, did Mommy and Daddy pay for you to tour Europe?”
My first reaction was laughter at absurdity of his statement. Why would my parents have paid for me to go to Europe? Then anger. I had to resist the urge to tell him that if I was on someone else’s dime I certainly wouldn’t have stayed at this slime pit. All I managed to do was stare at him in stunned silence before handing him my passport.
LCD #2 – The Hater
This LCD hates fun. And possibly you. But mostly fun. Nothing you want to do will be fun, or cool, or real enough for this traveler (never a tourist of course). The pyramids are so last week, Angkor Wat is sooo crowded, the Parthenon is such a tourist trap. This person hates the player and the game.
The Hater can start to get to you. Pretty soon you are worrying if your travel plans are hip. You might miss out on things you would do otherwise because you might be letting the hater down. Its important to remember that you are on this trip for you and not some LCD. Do what interests you and keep an open mind to new experiences. Of course its always valuable to consider input but don’t let someone else dictate all your plans.
LCD #3 – The Creeper
The Creeper can be one of the worst LCDs. Sometimes hard to identify intially, they eventually make themselves known by their weird and innapropriate behavior. You are far from home, possibly alone and all the sudden the object of some really unwanted attention. Whether it be hollars on the street or unwanted advances in a hostel common room, the creeper can put a damper on your social instincts.
During my Nile cruise in Egypt, I requested wake up calls each morning from the front desk. On my last day I got my call as normal and after saying “Thank You” I went to hang up the phone when the man on the other end said “Wait!”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
Once again my only reaction was stunned silence and then quickly hanging up the phone. I felt super uncomfortable. These people know I was a female traveling alone, they knew which room I was staying in and they probably had a key.
Luckily it was my last day so I was able to leave the ship and avoid any other encounters. As I’ve said, in times like this its always best to follow your instincts and err on the side of safety.
What undersirables have you met on your travels? What have you done to avoid letting them ruin your trip?