We all know that one of the best ways to get through the university year when deadlines, relationships and life are giving you stress, is knowing the exact date that you are jetting off to some exotic location to avoid all responsibilities and let the crippling anxieties float away on the first sip of your mojito. Healthy! But what are the typical student holidays and how do you escape the well-trodden paths of the basic, broke travellers?
The short answer is – you don’t! When asked about their travels from the past year, 46% of students made the long journey to South East Asia, so my summer plans were quickly classified as unoriginal. A very popular destination for those of uni-age due to the extremely cheap living costs (and drinking costs) and the touristy areas dedicated to throwing daily parties, South East Asia became host to a number of my friends and “acquaintances” who were as eager to go and “find themselves” as I was.
“Every area has its secrets and, really, it’s the unique stories of near-death experiences and embarrassing moments that make it your own”
The number of people we met who were following the classic trail up the coast of Vietnam or island-hopping in Thailand made me wonder how you can travel to these places and not get clumped into the party hostel, baggy-trouser crew.
Despite the tourist traps, every area has its secrets and, really, it’s the unique stories of near-death experiences and embarrassing moments that make it your own. Whether you were taking your horse to Khao San Road or risking your life on the back of a motorbike, one thing is certain: you will be coming home with an array of fake designer brands and at least one token banana-patterned bucket hat, not to mention the constant urge to lose friends with the phrase “This reminds me of the time I was in South East Asia and stroked an elephant… like, oh my God, I nearly died!”.
“It is clear that these destinations haven’t gone out of fashion, still providing insta-worthy backdrops and enough alcohol to make tomorrow’s trip to that famous church a hungover epic”
However, 54% of students decided to avoid the curse of the intrepid traveller and explored elsewhere, with many making the most of their last chance to visit Europe before we have to join the non-EU queue and the countries decide to stop speaking English – c’est tragique!
With students visiting places such as Portugal, Italy, Switzerland or, even closer to home, Ireland and Scotland, it is clear that these destinations haven’t gone out of fashion, still providing insta-worthy backdrops and enough alcohol to make tomorrow’s trip to that famous church a hungover epic. These travellers may not come back with wavy garms and a spiritual awakening but the newfound sophistication in their step to match their sharpened palette and edgy music taste is something to compete with.
“There is a reason why places like South East Asia are so popular and get so much ‘gap yah’ grief”
Now, it may seem like I am mocking these individuals and their wanderlust tendencies, but I am just another guilty party. There is a reason why places like South East Asia are so popular and get so much ‘gap yah’ grief, so instead of constantly ripping into the elephant-huggers (however fun it is), I feel it is more apt to praise people’s interest in opening their minds to new experiences and to follow their lead in exploring the corners of the world before global warming has other ideas.
Featured image courtesy of Frontierofficial via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to the image.
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