Knocking down age discrimination in the freedom realm of global budget travel.When did global budget travel become the restricted domain of youngsters? I naively thought that, financial means willing, anyone could jump a plane or train and voyage the earth on a shoestring regardless of race, sexual preference or age. Well how wrong I was. Accommodations may sing their values for gay-friendly, child-friendly and even pet-friendly, but in the world of cheap backpacking hostels don’t ever mention ‘grey-friendly’.
Last weekend I was looking for a hostel to stay in for a trip down to Rome and was amazed by the number of hostels that have an age limit of 35 years old for dorms. I checked out some other places in Europe and it seems to be quite common. What’s the problem here? I am 41 years old. Am I now shut out of the backpacking world? Is it assumed that we ‘oldies’ over 35 should just bunk down at the Hilton or Sheraton wherever we travel? But what of us who can’t afford that accommodation and have spent our travelling lives crashing in hostel dorms across the world with great satisfaction, what now? We still have 30 years to wait to blow our retirement funds on a couple of years of quality travel, where do we stay in the meantime?
First it begs the question just what is this rule based on? Are we such a turn off to the young twenties backpacking around on their parents money? Are they afraid we’ll dominate the communal TV, demanding to watch only news and documentaries? “No Big Brother or X Factor crap tonight kiddies!” Do they think we will demand a lights-out curfew of 9pm and shout “keep it down youngsters!!” if their chess games get out of hand after midnight? Do they think any male over 35 is a desperate sexual predator unable to control his long-supressed urges when drunken flatulent 19 year old girls flop onto their bunk beds after nights on the piss? We’ll give the dorms that nursing home piss smell? Are we a medical threat, with all our medication, snoring, heavy breathing, false teeth and ventilators? What if our pace-makers go on the blink in the middle of a youthful joyous night in Barcelona? Thats a bummer no gap-year backpacker need endure.
Seriously though, if any hostel were to state that dorms were for whites only, imagine the uproar. The owners couldn’t say “but the white guests don’t feel comfortable with a black in their room. It’s not racism, just customer service. Blacks are welcome to stay as long as they get a private room” (at considerable extra cost). But thats exactly what they state for over 35′s.
Anyway I’ve always experienced young ‘backpackers’ as a fucking snooty elitist bunch, before I had ever left Australia, then while I was travelling, then after returning from years on the global road, and now that I am living overseas again. They have this cunt-faced ‘Tribe’ mentality that they put themselves above everyone else ‘Western’, and it’s only the dirty natives of the countries they’re shoe stringing through that they respect. Not only that but their realm is also being restricted by age. Will over 35 yr olds be forced to fake IDs to get into hostels? “Yes i’m really 34, i look old for my age” “What year were you born?!” “’75, no ’77, fuck it!”
And Lonely Planet in their sell-out idiotness even have a travel book series called ‘Not for Parents’… It contains in depth travel information such as
“which country banned chewing gum? Or what’s the world’s stinkiest fruit? Or who invented roller skates? Or which building leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Or where can you eat fried spiders as a snack?… (Warning to parents: these might not be the same “really interesting bits” that you like…where to buy coffee, how many stars the hotel has, what’s the phone number for the airport, blah, blah, blah.)”…
You’re fucking kidding or what? When did travelling the world become a sneaky adolescent thing that parents don’t understand? But don’t worry over 35’s, there is a ‘grown up’ version too! This is travel reduced to a sugary breakfast cereal for attention-deficit children, with a free toy in the box.
Come on lets show the travellers and hostels of the world some Grey Power! People of 40, 50, 60 are usually fitter, smarter and a lot more courteous than the average 20 something globe-prancing egotists. Let’s kick down the dorm doors and demand adult nappies, high fibre cereals and bed pans in all hostels. We are old and we’re mobile! Before we die we are going to be moving around the world on a budget, even if we are wetting your bunk beds and crying in our sleep about our sad wasted lives.
And you spunky 19 year old girls complaining about old men in the dorms… baby I’ve had better pussy than you ten times over, don’t fucking flatter yourself, I’m just here to see the city.