Friday, June 24, 2011

Dave 2031

What will become of me?

Right now, I'm happy enough visiting new places and writing about brain injury claims and Berlin city breaks for a living (those are just two random, recent examples - I'm not paid to write endlessly about brain injury claims and Berlin city breaks, and never are the two combined). But will that still be the case six months from now? Or in a year? Or 20 years down the line in the space-age sci-fi future dystopia of 2031, when I'm 45?

Do I really want to end up like Graham?

Future echoes

(This is not Graham)

Graham is a 45-year-old English guy who shared my dorm until today. We were the only two people in there, and although we each spent a generous portion of the day outside, getting up to whatever mischief took our fancy (never are the two combined), the bulk of the day would see us both lying on our individual beds, tapping away at our individual laptops, wasting our lives away. Well, sometimes I was working too.

I've met people like Graham before. People who - if I was self-important enough to think myself the centre of the universe or deluded enough to believe myself to be the central character in some awful novel - serve as mirrors for my potential future, or effective negative role models for how I don't want to end up.

Other examples include Graham - a 45-year-old guy I shared a flat with when I first moved to Edinburgh.

And then there was Graham - a 45-year-old guy who worked at the same terrible call centre as me, back when I couldn't get a better job.

(There's my dad too, but unfortunately he isn't called Graham. Can't he get anything right?)

Neither of those Grahams should have had to occupy the same sorry state as the 22-year-old me was back then, and I felt sorry for them. My situation has improved considerably since then, so the futuristic mirror I encountered in the recent Graham doesn't paint so dark a portrait of my potential fate, but I wonder if he was happy to be doing pretty much nothing all day at 45? If only there was some way I could have asked him, during all those overlapping hours of staring at laptop screens.

But would things really be better if I turned out more like Bruce?

(This is not Bruce)

Bruce was an enchantingly strange old American guy who hung outside my hostel in Venice, regailing young backpackers with his (possibly fictitious) life story of teaching kung fu in Japan, and starting one-sided conversations on various political and social topics that I'd sadly drank too much box wine to recall.

He seemed happy and provided some entertainment at the end of a night out, but is hanging around drinking wine on a step in Venice really prefarable to lying on your bed looking at the internet, alone but for the younger mirror image of yourself writing nasty things about you in his blog?

My brain (probably) doesn't work the same as yours

(This is not my brain. This is Krang)

The answer is, I am generally happier writing on my laptop, reading or silently collecting my thoughts than I am hanging out with arbitrary people I meet just because we have the same budget in common (and speaking from experience, usually not much else).

I don't mean all the time, obviously - I don't hate the human race or anything (well, maybe the English ones) - but I'm introverted enough that my brain just doesn't physically need the extra dopamine you get from interacting with people, and it can even get overloaded in too much company (probably the reason I get uncomfortable and have always been the first to skulk home from parties or nights out).

So please stop telling me travelling is 'about the people' rather than the places, because that's not why I do it. It might be true for you, but that doesn't make it true for everyone. And while we're at it, stop telling me I 'need to get on Facebook' too - I tried it once, I'm much happier without it. Writing blogs to no one is enough for me.

Nah, I'm unable to empathise with your minority mindset, so you must be objectively wrong

I don't blame you if you have trouble understanding - it's probably just because you're one of the 75 per cent majority of extroverts who need regular company to top up your hormonal test tube levels (according to my friends, the books). But stop making people like me feel like we're doing something wrong, just because we're wired differently.

I do talk to people when I feel like it, it's just not a priority, and based on nine months of evidence I think the idea that I can 'learn a lot' from other backpackers or even locals is a little exaggerated. I'll keep my eyes open for the good ones, and I probably will keep meeting a decent guy every few weeks, who I'll then fail to email like I half-heartedly promised, and an insanely beautiful foreign girl every once in a while, who'll receive a series of creepy, strategic emails when the time is right.

But my mission objective remains to explore strange, new worlds, to churn out enough articles about brain injury claims to keep me alive, and to boldly email women who are clearly way out of my league like so many men have done before.

Hmm... this is coming out differently than intended, I only wanted to point out a general lack of understanding that's been irking me for a while. If this post does read like it's written in frustration, rest assured it's nothing you've done - that'll just be anger at my bank for making me wait around in the same place for ages so I can receive something in the post that I don't even want, but apparently need, says them.

I wanted to be in Singapore by now, paying extortionate prices for noodles and getting arrested for jaywalking because I crossed the street within 50 metres of a crossing, but I have to hang around in bloody Malacca for an indeterminate amount of time instead. Hmm... maybe the bank's on my side after all. They hide it fucking well.


  1. So you've been away for 9 months? Just think; if you'd had unprotected sexy boom boom time with one of those girls sitting beside you at Loliver's leaving night, you could be a daddy RIGHT NOW! Or have aggressive herpes. Or both!

  2. Arrgh! I think I was hit by this post more than twice just from the part that traveling is not about people bec I keep repeating myself that it is on my blog! And to sign up on Facebook! Or just simply hanging out with my laptop most of my time traveling, etc etc... It's funny bec when I met you people at the Rainbow Guesthouse in Bangkok, it doesn't seem like you don't want to talk to people. In fact, I was fascinated with how you, Oliver, and Mary talked about period potion (that's the funniest) and asking tuk-tuk drivers to bring you to Rainbow Guesthouse when its just across the road!

  3. That was mostly the other two, not me. Like I said, people have different personality types.

  4. By the way, Lyndsay, the girl who commented before you was the original period potion tea maker. Small world!