The common imagination classifies all white travellers as well moneyed. Foreign exchange makes western tourist quite the Richie Rich overnight, Asia becomes the dream destinations to enjoy exotic holidays at cheap rates.
This income from tourism, in turn, boosts the economies of the global south. Here’s the deal though, what if you were to find these white travellers begging on the streets to survive alongside lepers and homeless people?
Shocking wouldn’t it be?
To be a Roman in Rome, You have to afford Rome; Because Rome is not free
Travelling is like a drug. But like anything pleasurable, it comes at a cost. I say this from personal experience. Too many people have persuaded me that to travel, one needs guts, the push, and the willpower to face the thrill of uncertainty.
But they always cancelled on me last minute because they were broke as hell too.
“We Can Clean Toilets”
Very recently I came across an article detailing the everyday struggle of a White couple who have been sustaining their journeys by cleaning toilets. The said white couple quit their extremely well-paying white collar jobs in advertising in order to chase their wanderlust. They have no regrets cleaning toilets and basins in some of the worst situations in Asia, yet they wanted the world to know was that quitting one’s job was not all sunshine and roses.
Worst-case scenarios are not just catching exotic diseases or getting mugged- it literally could be a struggle for sustenance when you have no backup. And no way back.
Now, I don’t want to sound dreary. Isn’t it shocking that two well-educated people have been cleaning toilets in Thailand when they can just live the American dream? It is more than easy to judge these people around South East Asia who have been begging to fund their world tours. But why really?
Employment, without a Work Permit, is No Joke
The internet is outraged that these White people are asking for money from people from a low per capita income demography while having expensive equipment on display- musical instruments, amplifiers, DSLR cameras.
“Why don’t they sell them off for money?” The outraged twee-people ask.
But one article I read explained the economics of employment in such situations. The writer, playing a devil’s advocate, explained how making some travel money overseas through ‘busking’ is not a new thing, and definitely not bizarre. Tourists and travellers often do not have the permissions necessary for gainful employment in foreign lands.
Travellers looking for spontaneous opportunities will be hired for only menial jobs to sustain their prolonged plans. Sourcing a Working holiday permit can be steep, one could look for seasonal employment at tourist hotspots. You can check Workstay or Workaway if you like, opportunities are mostly blue collar at the best.
This is because employment laws in any country, say for instance Thailand, aren’t a cakewalk to deal with. You just don’t have to fill in a ton of forms and declare a million things, you also have sign stuff promising to go back to your parent country.
In the end, you gotta bite the dust.
So, what is Busking?
The idea of busking is not to beg- you entertain to earn. If a local street performer can make some money through music, why can a White man not? Sounds very romantic to me, you go to a strange land and win hearts (and some money) with you golden skills.
Voila, backpacking superstar born.
It still isn’t far from begging if you are doing so because you are completely out of money.
Beg-packing is a Devilish Culture
Beg-packing reflects the sense of entitlement some people of privilege hide behind. There are websites like FundMyTravel which encourage people to seek to crowdfund for their travel plans. Bizarre at the best when people pride themselves in asking money to enjoy themselves travelling since they don’t have much themselves, the whole notion that money comes easy goes easy is shameful.
Travelling being a luxury, the rise of the beg-packers is more of a lesson-in-waiting; one must be wise about the choices he/she makes financially when planning a trip.
So, if you are broke mid-trip because you couldn’t control your spending on alcohol, don’t complain about why the Thai airports are now checking passport histories and bank balances before letting you enter their country to cause more nuisance.
Image Credits: Google Images