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.
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”.
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?).
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!