Now I love luminous clothing, I always have and I always will. I think it stems from watching top of the pops in the late 80s. Spangly glittery shorts and luminous leg warmers. But there came a time when it was no longer acceptable for me to be wearing luminous clothing. Now, if I don a yellowy greeny (whatever that highlighter colour is) t-shirt, it makes me look like some kind of crazy cougar… it makes me look a great deal older than my 26 years.
But there are those out there who have either been travelling for too long, or who just haven’t seen a mirror for a while, who think that luminous clothing is great. And I’m not talking 18 year olds. They can be forgiven. An 18 year old in a luminous vest is a fun kid with a sense of individuality. The problem is not with them, but with the getting on for 30 year olds and those who passed it a good few years ago.
I met one the other day. He told me about this amazing local he met who gave him a taste of his food and subsequently sold him about four meals and a crate load of beer. He thought he’d really experienced something. He thought he’d learnt the local ways and in some way been initiated into their society. This poor vest mistook a visit to a restaurant for a real adventure.
He’s not the only one though. There are loads of them, a couple in Nepal, a few more in India and loads in Thailand.
Now everyone likes a good party now and then, but to spend a year of your life (or more) doing nothing but getting mashed is a little bit sad to me. To spend all that time and money on nothing but a hangover and little to no memory of your trip is a shame. Travelling is really expensive. It takes years to save up to be able to hit the road.
Perhaps this is the problem, they’ve had money land at their feet . But surely even rich kids have better things to spend their money on? Like gadgets or yachts or financial planners to make sure they don’t pay any more tax than is necessary. Just joking, they wouldn’t do that!?
A word of advice to people who may be at danger of falling into this category: stop, sober up and use your mouth words. Once you pass a certain point, all your stories will end or begin with ‘we got mashed.’ And that’s not a travelling story. You can do that at home.
I want to help these luminous vests. I want to show them how amazing travelling really can be. I want to show them how amazing the real world is. I want to send them off on a broken scooter in rural Cambodia to meet the real locals… not just the gangsters and drug lords that charm tourists at full moon parties and crush the poverty stricken locals as though they are ants.
I want to show them how inspiring and educational volunteering for an NGO can be – whether it’s teaching English, training staff or conducting research.
I want to save these vests from a life on the beach, with rotten brain cells and no connection with anything but every new person who’s trying to avoid them.
In fact I might start a campaign, ‘Save the man in the luminous vest’. Who’s with me?
***** Sortly after I first wrote this I met some amazing people whilst volunteering at The Elephant Nature Park. We arranged to meet up at the Full Moon Party. One of us wore a luminous vest… the rest of us covered our faces in luminous paint. Hmmm, guess you’ll find me in three years time on a beach somewhere in Goa… or Koh Phangang, talking to myself and dancing along the beach at 9am!?******