The “Get F*cked Up Lifestyle” of a traveler: more harm than good?

I’m no angel. Hell, I don’t even come close. I’ve done my fair share of partying all over the world. But, today I saw the new Matador book that was released “101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die” and it made me think about the stereotypes of backpackers and travelers.

I’ve written for Matador. I have friends who have been editors there. I love the site and most of the articles, but the idea behind this book struck a chord with me.

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Beer.

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“101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die is the only travel guide that could possibly help adventure seekers and world-trekking party-goers take their experience to a whole new high (or low). So, raise a glass, hop a flight, and join 101 Places’ professional party-crashers as they breach security, ride ill-recommended ferries, and hike miles into the wilderness all in search of the best parties in the world.”

Encouraging breaching security? Putting lives in jeopardy? Hiking into the wilderness to a party (which makes me think of all of the environmental damage something like that does)?

What kind of message is being sent to travelers? What kind of message is being sent to locals who often welcome visitors with open arms?

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#sunset over Koh Samui.

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As I have grown and traveled, I have seen a lot of things. Beautiful things. Gorgeous places. And then, there is the dirty, sleazy side of travel.

Drunken fights. Sloppy hookups. Pissed pants. Vomit-covered shirts. ODs. Obnoxious, arrogant behavior that is disrespectful to the places being visited.

Living in Chiang Mai, I am witness to grotesque displays of partying. Partying that would humiliate the people guilty … if they could remember it. I’ve seen bottle breaks, abuse, falling-over-drunk people who think nothing of it. Let me say this: it gives the entire lot of backpackers a horrific stereotype. It furthers the idea that we are only interested in getting wasted. That we all are irresponsible. And, that really bothers me.

During my long-term travels, I cannot count how many times I was ashamed to be associated with other people who had no idea what was considerate, no idea what was appropriate. People who were all-out dicks.

I have not read the book, so I cannot comment on its innards, and I am sure the writing is spectacular, but the title alone suggests to me that the sole idea of traveling to far off places isn’t to see but to be so drunk, so drugged, that the days are spent laying in bed with an all-mighty hangover.

Like I stated, I’m no angel. I’ve done St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. I’ve explored the nightlife in Budapest. I’ve hung in the coffee shops in Amsterdam. But, my goal in visiting these places wasn’t to get crunked, it was because I wanted to experience the cities. Sure, some of that comes with a party … but not all of it. I don’t encourage people to go and explore the world with the goal of partying their asses off.

Yes, I encourage living. Yes, I encourage experiencing. But, I don’t cheer people on to drop that tab of acid at a Full Moon Party or drink the “exotic” cocktails on Koh Phi Phi (where, coincidentally, two girls were getting f*cked up and later died because of it). I don’t condone being so intoxicated you wake up on a street somewhere, stripped of your belongings, because, hey, if you are that hammered, there is always a chance of that.

Don’t get me wrong — I am not slamming Matador — but it makes me wonder: does a book like this perpetuate the idea that backpackers are irresponsible travelers? Partiers who take in a city based on shots and nightlife instead of visiting a place for all of the other things it has to offer? Does it do more harm than good to suggest that the way to see a place is through beer goggles?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please, weigh in below.

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The best food. Ever.

I have never been a foodie. I am too picky of an eater to really go all out and sample delicacies the world over. If you asked me a year ago where the best restaurant I have ever eaten was, I would tell you simply — in Las Vegas. Because, well, let’s be real, Las Vegas has some of the best food around. Even for picky eaters like myself.

But, after a whirlwind five days on BlogtripF1, I am now convinced the absolute best food is in Spain. Paella. Fresh grilled fish. Iberian Ham. I even wrote about it for Madator Network.

Stef (@adventuregirl) and I had extended our time in the Land of Valencia. She had a change of plans, and I had no plans, so we decided to hang out in the region for a few extra days after the F1 Race. For two more days, we sampled deliciousness, shopped and sunned ourselves on the blue Mediterranean. We went from Valencia back down to Alicante to experience more of the best of Spain.

On our last night, the night Spain played Portugal in the World Cup match, we had been told dinner was arranged at our hotel, the uber-gorgeous and swank five-star Hospes Amerigo’s restaurant, Monastrell.

We dressed for dinner and met in the lobby, where we were greeted by a petite and friendly brunette. We had no idea who she was. She quickly talked about going to watch the game and then joining us for dinner.

It wasn’t until a few minutes into our conversation when we were led inside the restaurant did we put two and two together.

Lining one of the walls were photos, and there, standing in front of a kitchen, was the woman we had been chatting with.

Chef Maria Jose San Ramon. THE Chef Maria Jose San Ramon. Known as the “Saffron Queen,” she had recently returned from a gig at the White House where she had taught the chef how to prepare the ultimate paellea.

And, now there we were, standing with her in her restaurant, engaged in friendly banter and making plans to dine with her following the game (GO SPAIN!).

Stef and I headed to one of the chef’s other establishments for some tapas and tinto de verano, La Taberna Del Gourmet, a gorgeous restaurant a quick walk from Monastrell.

After watching the game, we met Chef Maria Jose back at Monastrell where we cheers-ed Espana and then settled in to our meal.

And what a meal it was.

Oysters. Pulpo. Lobster paella. Sweet, decadent desserts. Wine. Every single moment was stacked with the most amazing flavors, the most interesting taste combinations.

Pure foodie heaven.

Each time a dish was served, our eyes would grow big, light up.

I tried to savor every single bite, but when food is that good, it is hard to prolong such amazingness. Within a few hours, our meal was over. Bellies blissfully full.

My backpacker diet was absolutely ruined, trashed, spoiled rotten. It hurt me the following day to return to bread and cheap street vendors.

It also hurt to say goodbye to Stef. Like saying goodbye to the rest of the BlogTripF1 group, it was hard to utter the “see you soon” I dreaded. Her and I had spent so much time together, talking, laughing, drinking, EATING. We were friends before the trip, but being together for nearly the week we spent was so fulfilling.

But, she had a plane to catch back to America, and I had a train to catch to Barcelona. Yup. Another reunion. This time with Tina from my Monfrague week in April.

Disclosure: Land of Valencia covered all lodging, meals and activities as a part of the #blogtripf1 program.

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