The Most Annoying Travel Catchphrases of 2013

If you are a travel blogger, I would like to start this list of the most annoying travel catchphrases of 2013 with a warning – You probably aren’t going to like it, especially if you take yourself too seriously. On the other hand, if it does make you smile, for however brief a moment, it was all worth the effort! So, without further ado…

The Most Annoying Travel Catchphrases of 2013

Nomad – In my mind, if I had to choose just one of the most annoying travel catchphrases of 2013, it would be the word Nomad. It seemed that this was the year that every travel blogger was suddenly living a “nomadic” existence. To the uninitiated, it might have conjured up images of hardened adventurers toting their belongings across remote deserts, but in reality, most of these Nomads seemed to end up in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There, they rented houses out for months at a time, with a stated aim of trying to live on less than 500 dollars a month, which they generally failed miserably at by drastically overspending because everything was so cheap. There is an irony in there somewhere, I’m sure.

The most annoying travel catchphrases of 2013

Another irony, is that my current expedition bicycle is a Nomad hand made by Thorn Cycles.

To me though, this is where the term nomad became confusing, as surely they are just ex-pats? Of course we shouldn’t tar everyone with the same brush, and this new breed of digital nomad didn’t only emigrate to Chiang Mai. Some of the more adventurous ones decided to swap working from one Starbucks coffee shop in say New York to another one in say Kuala Lumpar. Apparently this distinct change of scenery (ie, looking at a coffee menu priced in another currency) was particularly inspiring. A digital nomad is most proud of the fact that they spend all of their time in front of a computer, looking up briefly to take photos of cups of coffee or plates of food, before returning to their laptop once more to upload them to an eager audience mostly doing the same thing. A true wilderness for a digital nomad, is somewhere the WiFi isn’t fast enough to stream Netflix, and Facebook loads too slowly.

Epic – I have noticed that every few years, a new word gains in popularity within travel circles. It seems that I have heard them all at one point or another. One year, everything was “mega”, then it was “bad”, then “awesome” (I actually still use that one, but hey, I have to use one right!?), then “hardcore” and then “super”. The super one I did kind of like for a while, because it gave additional power to other words, so that things were super-nice, super-tough, and I even had a super-soup-supper on one memorable day. In 2013 though, everything was “Epic”, and so it reached my list of the most annoying travel catchphrases of 2013.

Now, it seems to me, that the very definition of the word should limit its use, because epic means that the activity or situation under discussion should stand out from the crowd. That wasn’t the case in 2013 though, as hundreds of travel bloggers were having epic journey’s to airports, epic bus rides, and even epic cups of coffee in Starbucks writing an epic article on being a digital nomad in Chiang Mai. I hope the word hasn’t got much longer to run, as it does seem to be one of the more epically annoying catchphrases of 2013, and I am already looking forwards to a more suitable replacement in 2014. As long as its not “sick”.


Something like this is epic. A ten hour bus journey is not. Perspective is everything!

Chiang Mai -I suppose that technically, Chiang Mai is not a real catchphrase, but it seemed to crop up so often during 2013 that I have lumped it into the same category. I’ve never been there, and it could be the most wonderful place on earth for all I know, although I imagine that it would be far too chockablock full of Nomads having epic experiences for my liking. Apparently its big appeal is that it has all the modern conveniences of a developed country but at half the price, except beer which is a shame, because I like beer. Every travel blogger seems to end up there at some point, and so I have added it to my bucket list. Hmmmm… bucket list. That’s quite an annoying phrase, isn’t it?

Bucket List – Although the catchphrase has been around a while, it really gained more widespread usage after the release of the film with the same name, (which is pleasantly un-disappointing). As a catchphrase used by travel bloggers though, it reached a level which annoyed me a lot more in 2013 than it had done in previous years. So, what is a bucket list exactly? Well, its a list of things that you want to do before you die, and the first thing that usually goes on a bucket list, is to make a bucket list in the first place. The general consensus, is that it is extremely important to have one of these, because if you didn’t and then you died, you would regret not doing a bunch of things. (Although surely if you were dead, you probably wouldn’t care one way or the other?).

travel catchphrases

To me, the very concept of a bucket list puts on a lot of unwelcome pressure. For example, as you went down the list, you would become more and more paranoid that some misfortune would befall you before the thing was completed. The thought of leaving a list half ticked is just too unbearable, well it is to me at any rate. The answer I suppose, is to do the tough things like skydiving and bungee jumping last, whilst doing the more simple things such as having an epic cup of coffee in Chiang Mai early on. Also, if the list was too short, you could be accused of being unimaginative, and if the list is too long, you clearly have too much time on your hands. Travel bloggers often compare bucket lists in some weird “my ones bigger than your ones” manner over a cup of coffee whilst uploading photos to Facebook. No travel blog is worth the data it is written in if it doesn’t have bucket list in there somewhere.

So, as I draw to the end of this article, and by some coincidence a lovely bottle of red, it only remains to combine all these words and phrases into one sentence with a festive twist – A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Nomads having an Epic experience which they can tick off their Bucket List with whilst living in Chiang Mai!



  1. looking forward to building my fucket list πŸ™‚ Sounds much better than a bucket list!

  2. I’m definitely guilty of most of the above, and loved this awesome post nonetheless! Epic. Super epic.

  3. @ Brittany – Look forwards to a Fucket list of Epic proportions!
    @ JR Riel – Glad you liked the post… Merry Christmas!!

  4. SICK post bro! I keed I keed, Seriously though, this… “A true wilderness for a digital nomad, is somewhere the WiFi isn’t fast enough to stream Netflix, and Facebook loads too slowly.” had me dying.

    I’d also like to visit Chiang Mai, but I’d like to wait until the blogger/nomad presence dies down a bit. Maybe that’s just me being an anti-social prick.

  5. HaHa!! Glad you liked it.. Would super-sick be a word??!!
    I know where you are coming from about letting it die down a bit but still wanting to go. I might get lynched by rampaging mobs of digital nomads if I went right now though :p

  6. Mary @ Green Global Travel says:

    This seems to be so true. I see all of these “infractions” all of the time. Thank you for sharing this humorous post. Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

  7. This list is brilliant! I’ve never had a desire to head to Chiang Mai and now I feel even less likely to!
    Awesome is my favourite word.

  8. Steph Paige says:

    Lol this was amazing. And slightly relieving I’m only guilty of 1/4 πŸ™‚ I came up with my bucketlist while stranded in Ireland during the Eyjafjallajokull debacle…and I love it regardless! Haha

  9. Not so long ago I would be writing this comment from Chiang Mai, but now I am doing it from India instead.. both countries were in my bucket list after all and I am a nomad.. so I’ve got to do epic shit! ;))

  10. Epic Shit – That actually has a lovely feel and sound to it! I see another tongue in cheek article in there somewhere πŸ˜‰

  11. HA – the term ‘bucket list” has always gotten on my nerves, I also lists of ‘Things to do before I die” (how morbid is that…or is it just trivializing death?). My mom is retired in Chiang Mai and is getting sick of all the ‘grungy nomads’ hanging out at cafes and crashing her favorite hotel pool (which I won’t mention otherwise she’ll send me a nasty email).
    Besides nomad, I notice lots of guys named Matt and girls named Megan. That’s not their fault I guess but one of the weird things I noticed since I started blogging πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the fun post,
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Ps I also hate when people say ‘I’m stoked” or ‘things I heart’. WTF?

  12. I’ve never thought about the amount of Matts and Megans blogging before, but you’re right, they do seem to crop up more often than any other name! Maybe your Mum could do a survey in a Chiang Mai cafe the next time she drops in to get a random sampling πŸ˜›

    I haven’t noticed “I’m stoked” so much (but I guess I won’t stop seeing it now!), but that “things I heart”…why, why, why!!!

  13. This is gold! Totally agree with you on the miss-use of the word Nomad!

  14. Ha-ha. πŸ™‚ It is a very interesting post. I got a real pleasure while reading it. Good job, Dave.

  15. My epic fuckit list is getting bigger and bigger! πŸ™‚

  16. Fabulous – “… epic cups of coffee in Starbucks writing an epic article on being a digital nomad in Chiang Mai.” This is well written, I laughed out loud once, spitting coffee (home brewed, mind you) all over the keyboard. Kudos!

  17. Haha, this was great! Especially liked the line ‘even epic cups of coffee in Starbucks writing an epic article on being a digital nomad in Chiang Mai.’

    I get your thoughts on the whole bucket list debate but equally it’s nice to keep a record of experiences and places you hope to enjoy in your life, even if you don’t necessarily achieve them all. What other name could such a list suit? πŸ™‚

    Anyway, loved the post, thanks for sharing.

  18. I simply love it (the whole epic & awesome addiction I have is a Kiwi thing – there was no choice in the matter!)

  19. I’m definitely including ‘Chiang Mai’ in my ‘Bucket list’ this year. Sounds like an ‘epic’ place to be a ‘nomad’! lol πŸ™‚ (excited that i used all in one sentence.) Nice article. I’m actually guilty of overusing ‘bucket list’ and ‘epic’. I even tried hard not to write ‘Epic article’ in place of nice article… And that super-soup-supper is super sick… πŸ™‚

  20. Haha! This is a super-epic post that makes me happy I don’t call myself a nomad or have a bucketlist. Love your sense of humor.

  21. I hate awesome too, but it’s just too ingrained in my vocabulary to stop using it.

  22. Great post, I laughed a lot as an epic lifestyle & fashion blogger, who aspires to become a nomadic travel blogger with a huge “wanderlust” (you forgot this one)! I guess I forgot my “adventure” bucket list in the Starbuck of a super remote stop, on my way to Chiang Mai! See you there …

  23. @ katie – No, awesome is on the ok list, its fine to use… Don’t hate, embrace!
    @ Nita – Glad you liked the post
    @ Mademoiselle – Wanderlust is already added to my 2014 review, and even though I have started to use adventure a lot myself, that’s going on the list too!

  24. Ha, great post Dave! I don’t use the word epic and we didn’t add Chiang Mai to our Thailand itinerary on our recent visit. As you say, I’m not sure anyone but nomadic travel bloggers lives there anyway. I enjoyed our visits to parts of Thailand not so frequented by the rest of the travel blogging world. πŸ™‚

  25. I second that !

  26. “Epic cups of coffee in Starbucks writing an epic article on being a digital nomad in Chiang Mai” hahaha that item should be in everyone’s epic bucketlist!!!!

  27. lol Okay this post was hella funny and I’m happy to say I’m not guilty of any of these.

  28. Oops I use most of these often! Super funny post.

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