Comment: Magaluf to Tanzania does not a pioneering traveller make
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Hello, what’s this? A student goes on a pre-organised gap year ‘adventure’ with a UK-based volunteering organisation and returns brimming with self-righteous confidence and extolling the virtues of ‘lone travelling’. My gripes begin in the fourth paragraph of the article From Magaluf to Tanzania which reads, ‘Completely alone with a group of thirty two strangers’. I’m sorry, let’s read that again. Completely ALONE with THIRTY TWO other people. Pardon? So, from then on I am forced to dismiss the independent, lone traveller image that the article attempts to conjure. I’m also presuming, from having been on similar trips myself, that ‘lone travel’ is hardly the most accurate turn of phrase. With the amount of cash you pay to these companies, and the fact that they largely cater to middle-class students who can afford to take the entire summer off to ‘satisfy their travelling needs’, I think that there might be a certain amount of protection involved. Case in point my trip to Namibia at the age of 18. Yes, we had responsibility. We had to budget, for example. We had to phone up campsites whilst driving through African plains at sunset, in order to confirm that we would have somewhere to pitch our Vangos that night. We had to shop for our own food in a supermarket where no one spoke anything but Afrikaans! The essential things, of course – our transport, where we would be staying in the first place, our flights and connections – were largely sorted out for us. Yes, we might have had to physically go into the office and book a coach to take us from Windhoek to Swakopmund, but it was made easier by the fact that costs and timetables were set out in a helpful little package provided by what will now be known as the Unnamed Volunteering Organisation.
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