Photo: Wong's Bar, Bangkok.

Idle banter forum

Soapbox: Loosen your grip

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/2/2016 at 07:28 admin

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Hi all,

Don't mind me, I'm a traveller on my $10,000 gap-year trip, using my $500 smartphone to leech the WiFi from the Bangkok guesthouse next door. I need to access Facebook so that I can ask complete strangers advice on how I can save $2 on the overnight bus to the silly islands that I want to catch tonight.

Okay, this is a fictionalised example -- the poster was actually trying to find out how they could spend less than six dollars for a bus trip that crosses an international border, and takes about 12 hours on a good day.

Six dollars.

I'm all for stretching your money out and paying a reasonable amount for services rendered. But seriously, if you're spending time online asking strangers how you can literally save a couple of dollars, then I have two pieces of advice:

1) Loosen your grip
How much is your time worth? I don't mean financially (though that too) but rather experientially. Every minute you spend on your phone or in front of your laptop is a minute you're not spending out in the world you maybe just flew half way around the globe to experience. I'm the first one to admit I'm as guilty, if not more guilty, than most regarding "phone-hand", but still... put the freaking phone down!

But also, spending hours trying to determine how to pay less than $6 for a bus ride is a waste of everyone's time. Seriously, how much cheaper could it be? 20% less? Yes I know these small savings add up and clawing back $1 every day for ten years will give you an extra $3,650 (not counting leap years obvs) but, I dunno, maybe just not ask on Facebook about it? Which leads me to my second thought.

2) Ask a person within 50 metres of you
This is what bothers me more. You know the scene. You walk into the hostel common room and it's as quiet as a library, save the rhythmic humming of laptops and the beeping Facebook alerts (MUTE people). You go to shoot some pool and the guy skyping his Mum (WITHOUT EARPHONES) asks you to hit the balls softer. I've grown to loathe hostel common rooms.

Next time you're going to ask a question online (be it on Facebook, Twitter or a travel forum -- even ours) turn to the person next to you and ask them. Maybe they'll have the answer for you. Or maybe they'll just say, "I dunno, it was just a couple of dollars -- does it matter?"

Does it?

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,011
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Posted by walkerpub on 8/2/2016 at 08:50

Thank you for this - nuff said!

#2 walkerpub has been a member since 30/8/2012. Posts: 4

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