Whenever I categorise people based on their personalities, behaviours or traits, rooted from my experience in dealing with them, I get a response “omg, you are stereotyping again”. Well, the word stereotype was invented for a reason. There is also a valid reason for certain stereotypes. I agree, stereotyping makes us ignore unique differences but it also creates certain expectations and as such helps us act / prepare accordingly.
While backpacking through South East Asia last year, I had a chance to meet a lot of backpackers from different backgrounds and nationalities. Slowly, I started placing them into my small boxes:
- I stereotyped the backpackers I met based on the type of their backpacking / travelling style and created three categories.
- I also paid attention to similarities based on the nationality of the backpapers. I would only stereotype someone based on their nationality if I got a fit for purpose sample (i.e. if I met more than three backpackers of the same nationality non-simultaneously or a group of backpackers of the same nationality at more than one occasion).
Stereotypes based on a backpacking / travelling style
- The backpackers I categorised as “tourists” tend to:
- book organised tours,
- hardly ever choose activities based on their passions or interests,
- tend to follow guide books and do what all tourists and holidaymakers do.
- Travellers (including the nomads):
- The backpackers I categorised as “travellers” tend to:
- do most activities on their own,
- use public transportation and hang out in local places (not just touristy areas),
- choose activities based on their passions or interests.
- The backpackers I categorised as “drunkards” tend to:
- drink all night, sleep all day,
- not to do much apart from the above two activities.
Stereotypes based on nationality
- English guys
- The better looking English gender,
- Great sense of humour and banter.
- Can’t handle alcohol well.
- English girls
- The worse looking English gender,
- Can’t handle alcohol well,
- Tendency to call you rude at 4 am when they get back to the hostel from a night out and you ask them politely to keep their voices down. Tendency to call you rude again at 10 am the following morning when you accidently drop a bottle of shampoo on the floor and wake them up.
- Gotta love the rules!
- There is nothing that will make the Germans change the rules – have you ever played card games with them?
- A stronger version of the Germans. The rules are RULES.
- Asian nationalities (born, brought up and living in an Asian country)
- Seem to have their hearing and / or speech impaired. Don’t say hi to you; don’t say hi back when you say hi first.
- In your face all the time,
- Very literal,
- I also met (male) Americans who claimed they were “sarcastic”. If you are English or European, you must be thinking Americans and sarcastic? What? Well, I’ve conducted a research on this topic and there is such thing as American sarcasm. It’s just not really funny or clever the way the English or European sarcasm is. It’s more forced and “in your face”. Unless you are American, avoid at all times!
- Know how to get a party started,
- Friendly and inclusive,
- Hate when other people think they are American when they meet them for the first time.
- Easy to impress,
- Love making new friends.
- Drink like a fish,
- Can be a bit too serious at times.
- Proud of the fact they get on well with the English.
- Loyal backpackers; once they’ve found a travel companion, they tend to stick with them.
2 Replies to “Backpackers and their stereotypes”
Very easy to read- kept moving me through. Key points well put
Thanks Kristina. As I have mentioned in my intro, these are just stereotypes. Stereotypes of backpackers I met in SE Asia, to be more precise. They don’t reflect individual differences and are also not stereotypes of all people based on their nationality (just backpackers)…