Volunteer, Intern, WorkAway or Stay Home
Call it Millennial Hashtag Delusions born of Instagram travel porn or White Privilege I am tired of these articles about “beg-packers.”
Back in the mid 90’s I took a year off from college. I worked in the French Quarter as a bartender to save money to hang out in Jamaica for a few months. On my way to work and when leaving after a brutal shift of drunken fools I would see these “Street Ra[t]s” — white hippie kids with matted cat hair masquerading as #dreadlocks with signs that read “spare a sip man”
New Orleans is a poor Black city and these lazy and typically middle-class kids were sprawled on the streets asking for money and sips from people’s cups.
Now I am reading about this same strain taking it global. When I ran out of money hanging out in Brazil I got a job tutoring English. When I wanted to stay longer in the Comoros I offered my design and writing services to an NGO in exchange for a place to live, food, and a stipend.
Where is the sense of self-responsibility?
Take your entitlement back home or be a productive force in the developing world.
Leave more than a carbon footprint and bad taste in the locals’ mouths.
Travelling across the world — even if it’s in cheap hostels on a budget of £5 a day — is not a God-given right; it’s a luxury that millions will never have. Backpackers might be able to justify their behaviour to themselves, saying that they’re not forcing anyone to give to them/they really can’t afford their next flight/they’re busking not begging, but deep down they surely know what they’re doing is wrong.