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Why Everyone Who Travels Can’t Be in My Tribe

Why Everyone Who Travels Can’t Be in My Tribe

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful that so many people are seizing the opportunity to see this big beautiful world. Not to throw shade, but simply not every traveler can be part of my tribe. I’ve met a lot of travelers on my globalcreating journey, here are the top 10 types and how to deal with them. Different strokes for different folks but…when I bump into some of them out comes the fake French accent and oversized sunglasses.

1 – The First-Time Traveler (AKA Nervous Nikki)

She’s adorable- proudly posting her first passport on social media, Whatsapping you her anxieties about the security situation in Toronto, and cheering like it is the 4th of July when the plane lands. Even though her childlike wonder and enthusiasm are entertainingly cute, she needs a lot of handholding to explore her first foreign country.

Advice: If you feel like mentoring, only take her to safe,  dummy-proof places (like resorts within English-speaking Caribbean or countries like Canada and England )

2 – The NGO Worker (AKA Savior Sam)

He came here with stars in his eyes, and a dream to fight poverty, resettle refugees and to improve gender equality. And also live in a mansion with a Range Rover, a cook, and a driver.  He may or may not see the paradox in his own extravagant lifestyle in a low-income country but one thing is certain, don’t bring it up when he’s drunk.  Other than that, he can discuss politics and socio-economics with the best of them and knows all the expat hot spots in town.

Advice: No matter what you think of the politics of development aid, you know the NGO worker’s heart is usually in the right place.  So just hug it out and admit, with his globe-crossing polyglot ways, he’s a part of your tribe.

3 – The Caribbean Deck Diva (AKA Cruising Cassie)

She’s always calling herself a globetrotter but ironically, knows surprisingly little about the globe. That’s because her only trips are within cruises, usually with a bunch of people she already knows from home.  She only travels like this—she’s a bit squeamish outside her American comfort zones of fast food, hip hop, reality TV and speaking English.  Can’t say the bar of a boat and a few hours at ports give much global exposure—but who can hate on unlimited free food and drinks?

Advice:  Since globalcreators are usually on the ground overseas actually doing stuff, it’s rare that we interact for long with these deck divas.  So just humor them and maybe help them learn some words in the local language.

4 – The Jaded Veteran Expat (AKA Bitchin’ Bob)

He’s been living abroad since like before you were born.  Despite the fact that it’s more his home than America ever was, he has a penchant for complaining about the locals and the backwardness of the country.  This is usually coupled with his other hobbies like daytime drinking and gallivanting with underage escorts.  The latter seems to be his favorite thing about the country because he thinks American women are ball-busting gold-diggers.

Advice: Introduce him to your life coach so he can finally address some of his issues with women and his family.

5 -The Social Media Junkie (AKA #Globalista2016)

She’s always calling herself a #globalnomad but in reality, she’s a #serialtourist with excellent social media engagement.  She usually doesn’t get to know the country, or make local friends, or learn the language because the main focus of her #nomadadventures2017 is churning out a million posts across Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Or maybe it’s because you can’t dive into the country when only there for a week and interacting solely with the other 15 Americans from your tour group. Nevertheless, she likes to provide commentary on the country as if she’s an expert (including promoting her e-books  How to Party Like a Rock Star in Havana  and Dress Like a Local: India Edition)

Advice: Get her some foreign language classes and hire her as a social media person!  So she can now experience what it’s like to live abroad as a foreigner, not just a tourist.  And so your Instagram can be on fleek.

6 – The Wandering Hippie (AKA Roadtrip Raine)

Many people falsely call themselves nomads but this earthy sweetheart is actually the real nomad.  She was initially studying art in Holland (where she tried lots of edibles) then spent a year living out of a van crossing Central America before studying with a shaman in Brazil and now you bump into her selling crafts on the beach Bali.  She’s kindly explained your Saturn Return to you and gifted you a rose quartz yoni egg, which you hope to God was not recycled.

Advice:  Thank her for the advice, pray for her and tell her about the paid digital nomad work she can also find on Internationality.

7 – The Global Social Butterfly (AKA Jetsetting Jenna)

She’s the exact opposite of the Nervous Nikki.  Always in motion, she’s the type of dynamo that calls you from the airport to meet during her layover in Dubai en route to do a photo shoot in Thailand, coming from her home base in Naples, Italy.  And you better go- because she always knows some film director, restaurant owner or baroness, from New York to Macau.  And somehow ends chatting up even more diverse and highbrow characters in first-class lounges and business conferences- which is inadvertently how she gets paid to travel and do cool stuff all over the world.

Advice:  Befriend her, build with her and if so inclined, spotlight her here on Internationality! Too often, the most high-achieving inspirational dynamos are too busy #globalcreating to care about being noticed online and in social media, but their stories deserve to be told.

8 – The Know-It-All Navigator (AKA Haggling Harry)

You don’t know if his parents were actually merchants or if he learned it in a hostage situation, but this guy is always ready to inquire and negotiate.  Even in department stores, he’s always asking the final price.  It’s embarrassing but you save 80% at souks with him so you can’t complain.  He’s always inquiring if someone knows someone or if there’s a better place which is how you end up upgrading to 5-star venues and meeting the Minister of Finance.  Plus, you never get lost because he knows someone or has plotted it on GPS.

Advice:  Take him with you to emerging markets and to do your car/house/furniture shopping.  And always bring him a gift, he appreciates hospitality.

9 – The Corporate Exec (AKA Amex Aliyah)

This is the friend you love to meet for dinner because she always expenses it.  She’s got platinum status on all airline alliances, has worked all over Asia and Europe, and never writes emails in the first person.  She’s usually working too hard to see much of the countries she goes to but when she does get a chance to party, she can binge drink like a champ. Best part, she won’t put the night out on Instagram like #Globalista2016.

Advice:  Give her a hug and try to help her launch a side business so she can finally enjoy her globalcreating a bit more.

10 – The Trailing Spouse (AKA Relaxed Rea)

She’s not allowed to work in her adopted country due to visa restrictions so spends her days exercising, reading blogs, going to spas and entertaining her spouse.  But not cleaning- cause that is outsourced.  She’s pretty fabulous—if you are only interested in discussing beauty, fashion, and kids.

Advice:  Make her your spa buddy, her schedule and budget are usually wide open!


Edit 5 April 2017: Ten More Travelers I’ve Met

About The Author

Growing up, I traveled throughout the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Africa with my parents. During college, I did several study abroad programs. Since graduating I've been living overseas. I now call South Africa home.

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  1. Girl this is amazing! You made my day!!!

  2. I must admit that I’ve laughed a lot. These descriptions are so cool. I think, I mean I tried to identify myself with one of them ….. I think I’m the wandering hippie. But I am not selling anything on the beach, yet. 😛

    • I posted this on FB saying my I was #6 who became a #7 they promptly corrected me saying at best I was 6.75 😉 They’ve been traveling around with and without them for the past 20 years so I guess they know me


  3. Amazing post. I am the same type of traveller in Point #8!I would negotiate for the best prices or discount that I can get when going to souks =D

  4. Now this really did ring a few bells! Certainly, living in Asia for 7 years, I’ve met plenty of disillusioned NGO workers and first time travellers and unfortunately, more that a few jaded expats. Very funny article and one that certainly broughtt a smile to my face

  5. haha great post! I have to admit I am something between 5 and 6. Unfortunately am a little addict to social media but I am enjoying visiting part of new country where my phone shows “out of service ” 😀 and selling crafts on the beach Bali doesn’t actually sounds like a bad idea 😀 😀 😀

  6. haha great post. I work in Africa as a guide so meet a lot (A LOT) of volunteers and NGO’s. You’re right, their heart is always in the right place so I find it hard to knock them for their “save the world” attitude. Lets also admit it – travel would not be as fun without so many different characters!

    • Hi
      WE are working on an article about adventure and overland tour guides would love to interview you. If you have a moment please email us info@internationality[dot]me

  7. I am still laughing. I can’t say you are wrong in most types.  I guess I am the bargaining type but only at street markets or souks. I always believe bargaining is your birth-right!

    • I totally agree.
      Once in Hong Kong, my friend’s boyfriend got mad at me for bargaining over the price of pearls he wanted to buy for his sisters and nieces. When it went from $50 to $15 a piece (plus a purple jade necklace for me) he finally then wanted me to help him with his souveniers.


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