A year is a long time. 2015 was the year that I finally felt like an adult for the first time in my life. I got a good job with a consistent paycheck and I took advantage of my holidays to the fullest to the absolute horror of my boss. By year’s end, I had taken more than 60 flights, went to 30 different countries, saw my beautiful parents in Spain, had the best trip of my life with my two best mates, had the worst trip of my life, and came to a handful of conclusions.
1. Tinder Plus is a game changer.
Tinder Plus has changed everything in terms of travel. I’m not implying that hooking up has become substantially easier because it was never that hard to begin with. Rather, an entire world has been opened up for people to communicate, find commonality, and maybe get some loving through a not overly creepy medium. There has been a lot of criticism of Tinder among different voices in recent times, but in my opinion, its pitfalls simply mimic the societal problems found elsewhere; like racism, sexism, and such. Much of the problematic aspects of it have been remedied through blocking the moments that were used to send dick pics. What has emerged is a tool for people to cultivate an understanding before traveling and comfort before meeting.
2. Morocco is where you should go next.
I went to Morocco twice over the past 12 months. The first time, I went with an ex-girlfriend and had less of a ‘trip’ and more of a ‘holiday.’ You know, it was pleasant and all but not much more. We mostly did the cliched shit.
The second time, I was shell-shocked by how exciting and unlike anywhere else the place was. While in Marrakesh I got taken out by some people who were familiar with the local watering holes. It was one of the few places I can call ‘inspirational’ without feeling like a total wanker. It is a place where it is obvious that people want so much more than they’ve already got and they’re going to change that. In such a basic way, people are using the limited space of freedom in the likes of karaoke bars and alternative cafes to begin that change through making it a safe space to begin questioning norms.
Plus, I also met maybe the greatest person ever there. We’re doing Paddy’s Day there this year — fuckin’ green couscous and all that shit.
3. Friends are better travel partners than lovers.
It’s grand and all for those in a relationship traveling together but for me, traveling with mates is way more fun. There is something rather lovely about being hungover while sharing a salad with a mate and making crass jokes about the night before instead of worrying about whether you’ll offend your significant other because they have a shit sense of humor and want to do something for Facebook likes.
Traveling as a couple will bore the hole off you and ruin what you intended to gain from travel, i.e. be a better person through this new experience. It hinders your ability to interact with others and closes you off from the world. Straight up, Bromance and Womance need a Tinder app and you should find that special one not to produce kids and buy a house with, but to get drunk, meet more people with, and remind yourself that you’re never too old to make more friends. Fuck marriage when I got Klemens and the Dane of Pain.
4. The world is lovely and getting arrested is surprisingly hard.
The world is a far more tolerant place than you could imagine. It is jam-packed with caring, genuine, and well-intended people. I was chilling in Albania while a bit lost when some fella with more decades than teeth took sympathy on me, despite not speaking a word of English. He looked at my screen shot of a map of Tirana, laughed, and led me on a nice twenty minute walk through Tirana telling me all about its history. Well, I assume that’s what he was doing, as he pointed at all the different buildings while talking in a long diatribe. That sort of shit just warms your heart.
The amazing surprise is that despite the behavior of myself and companions, such as urinating on religious grounds, drinking on religious grounds and fornicating against religious buildings, we did not manage to get ourselves arrested. We’ll just have to do better next year if we want that night in the drunk tank!
5. Cities of love: Tbilisi, Zagreb, or Vilnius.
Wanna fall in love? Go to Tbilisi, Zagreb, or Vilnius. They all have that special ambiance that makes your breathing slow down, your heart skip a beat, and makes you realize that you better smarten the fuck up. They have that certain unique charm that reminds you that although you think you’re a big deal and that you ought to not waste your youth chasing after the next kiss, maybe you should actually go find something a little more special.
I suppose this contradicts what I said before about preferring to travel with mates but not really. You don’t need to share every aspect of your life with your significant one. I say ‘fuck it’: home is for the special one and travel is for the mates! Plus, we’re not getting any younger and lord knows the party won’t last forever.
6. Nothingness is more preferable to the other shit.
One could argue the more shit a place is the more I enjoy it. For example, I had my best holiday ever in Bishkek, yet I can’t tell you one fucking thing I saw, and that’s not because of booze. Now, the booze didn’t help surely but I can say that there was no specific tourist spot that I intended to go to or ended up at that impressed me. Rather, it was the mood, the absurdity, and the company that made it.
I learned that essential lesson; that you can’t enjoy a place unless you have no idea what you’re doing. You need to shape an empty imagination and once you do that you’ll find something special.
7. Apolitical and cliched travel writing should fuck off.
I started No-Yolo with my favorite person in the world and thought it would drive me to travel with more purpose. The result is that I now can justify my poor behavior of excessive drinking, silliness, and scoping out public areas in which to pee.
That said, I firmly believe that we, along with our favorite online magazines and blogs, are challenging that basic and troublesome notion that travel is simply for pleasure. We travel to upset the balance of shit and try to give travel writing more substance.
8. Bangkok is shite.
Liking Bangkok is sort of similar to thinking that Mumford and Son is a good band. You more than likely think that you’re a tremendously interesting person but the reality is that you’re a twat. That of course is no reflection on Thai culture or people. I think they’re like any other people in the world with an equal distribution of lovely and shit people.
Rather, I am speaking about traveling as an experience. Does the world need any more articles about Thailand and how one found themselves there? No, it doesn’t. It just seems filled with people looking for their ‘experience’ and maybe a photo with a tiger. Plus, the partying is crap.
9. Kiev is where it is at in Europe.
Kiev is currently the most exciting city in Europe by some margin. All you need to do is just look at the transformation of the city from pre- to post-revolution to notice that something special is in the air. People are speaking more Ukrainian, the city is more colorful, and there is a momentum in the air that says Kiev’s young people won’t tolerate the same bullshit that they have endured since 1991.
Like, I fucking hate gourmet hamburger joints and pseudo-dive bars but what the young people of Kiev have been doing throughout 2015 is attempting to break from the lethargy of the past. It is a statement that they’re going to be determining their own future. If you want to see what the amazing potential of the ex-Soviet Union’s young people are then you need to look no further than this. I wished I lived there.
10. I am just going to keep traveling, and maybe learning
I’m going to go to Algeria, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and if one Danish man has his way then Kurdistan next year. Does anyone know where the best bars and vegetarian restaurants are there?
This article was originally published on No-Yolo and is reposted here with permission.