An Open Letter to My Fellow Travellers

Dear Fellow Traveller,

It sure is amazing that we're here, eh? To be in Phnom Phen, halfway around the world, getting to experience this totally different culture: We really are so lucky. I hope you share that sense of amazement with me. In addition to seeing this oh so different culture, it has been great meeting you, my fellow travellers. For sharing your travel histories, as well as information about your home countries and lives, I want to say thank you.

I do, however, have some beef. I share it with you not only to get it off my chest, but also in hopes that you will listen and consider what I have to say. After all, my experience travelling is affected by what you do, both from direct interactions, and in indirect ways (how a community welcomes travellers greatly depends on how previous travellers have acted in the past).

For starters, the Lonely Planet is a guide book, not a rule book. The next time I hear "but the Book says...", I think I might go insane. I have nothing against Lonely Planet. Its information about schedules, activities, accommodations, and maps has been helpful in the past. But it has also been dead wrong. So do me a favor, dear traveller: pass a day (or two or three) without carrying around the Book. Choose an accommodation based on the look and feel of the place, rather than words written by someone else over a year ago. Take a chance on a place that wasn't included in the "things to do" list. But most of all, please stop quoting the suggestions and cautions from the LP as ones of your own or those of your friends. If it is in the LP, it is not insider information.

Secondly, if you choose to take advantage of nothing else of the culture here but the cheap beer prices, please keep quiet and try not to do anything stupid. Since we keep exactly opposite schedules, I suspect I will never meet you, which is all for the best, I guess. But please have the courtesy to realize that some people are here for more than the $.50 Anchors or the $3.00 buckets, and act accordingly. Cultural exchange is a two way street, and please don't litter it with your vomit and curse words.

That said, I know I speak to only a percentage of you travellers. We all have our own reasons for being here and our own agendas. I will do my best to respect yours if you return the favor.

Cordially,
Wren
Thursday December 7 2006File under: open letter, travel

Toggle Comments (4)comment?
on Thu 07th Dec, 2006 10:01 am PST Jule said:
$.50 beers! I'll book my flight now! (But the lonely planet says they were $.30. What gives?). By the way, I object the abbreviation of Lonely Planet as LP, as the only true LP is the soda from New Zealand, and that I did carry with me all the time while travelling and will never give that up. On a serious note, nice rant Wren. I agree! The Lonely Planet is overused and good ole travellers intuition is underused. I bet you are going to some great uncrowded places going by word of mouth. Keep up the great blog!
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on Thu 07th Dec, 2006 04:10 pm PST Sarah Fate said:
Wren, sorry to exploit you like this but... Jule, I lost your email. oops. Just wondering if I'll see you over Christmas? We will be on Samish for 4 nights with my parents and Alice and her new hubby. It would be great to hang out-I think we'll see your mom for sure the 23rd. my email is sarah@chubbyhiker.com. Thanks Wren!
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on Thu 07th Dec, 2006 05:45 pm PST MOM said:
Dear, dear, Wren, You sound travel-weary. Your experience is wonderfully rich in culture unfortunately travelers view their experiences through their own lenses. Don't let your lenses get in a fog.
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on Fri 08th Dec, 2006 08:34 am UTC Wren said:
Jule, I hear where you are coming from, but I always referred to Lemon & Paeroa as LnP or L&P, so I am going to stick with LP for lonely planet.
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