After a long but productive day I had come to the realization that I wasn’t going to make it out of my apartment as most people my age would on any given Saturday night. In an effort to clear my head a bit, I turned on the television for a few minutes of mindless stimulation. Saturday nights are never particularly good when it comes to show selections, but this night it had hit an all-time low.
I had turned on one of my guilty pleasure stations, E! and after five minutes of experiencing a mix of confusion and horror, I slowly realized that I was in fact watching Mean Girls 2. I’ll never understand why producers can’t quit whenare ahead. Why must they lessen the value of a genuinely good movie by creating a straight-to-DVD sequel?
Diversion aside, watching these girls interact with each other while simultaneously thinking of new travel article ideas for Bohemian Trails, my mind started interweaving the two contrasting behavioral patterns. It made me realize how different people act when they travel compared to when they are going about their daily lives. Is this because travel serves as an escape from the “real world” where social clicks and stressful jobs no longer hold the value they do back home? What about those people who travel for a living? What does escapism mean for them?
There are many who believe that once you get through the tough high school years you will fare better in college because people don’t care about “coolness”. I’m not sure I totally agree with this statement, but I think there is some truth to it. However, social clicks are highly prevalent in many business environments, which makes me wonder whether exclusive social groups have more to do with a person’s individual personality than their physical surroundings.
And I think it’s safe to say that age has nothing to do with maturity. I’m often horrified yet completely fascinated by the women on Bravo’s Real Housewives series. I see these middle aged women literally acting like a group of six year old children and I start questioning not only their sanity but my own for even finding their shenanigans amusing and highly entertaining.
Looking back on my own experiences, I tend to think that personality plays a large factor in how much of a “mean girl” (of guy) we are. I often call myself a loner by nature; an introvert who tricks others into believing I’m really an extravert; an observer rather than a talker. I’ve gone through grade school, high school, college and a corporate office and I’ve always been surrounded by social clicks. I’ve simply just never felt comfortable in these situations. While I have many friends, I’ve never been a part of a “group” and maybe that’s just part of my personality. While at first disappointed that my university lacked Greek Life, I’m grateful not to have felt the pressure of needing to join a sorority, which for me would have felt forced.
Perhaps this is why I am an obsessed traveler. For me, travel isn’t a form of escapism but a feeling of “coming home”. My family often asks me why I choose to go to the places I go to, clearly under the impression that I’m seeking the thrill of adventure or trying to figure out who I am and what I want out of this world, but it’s so much more than that. Traveling gives me the chance to challenge my viewpoints, open my eyes to things I may or may not be ready to see, and ultimately fulfills me in ways nothing else has managed to.
There really are no social clicks when you travel, which is why I feel most comfortable and emotionally open in these environment. Does this mean that “mean girls” are less likely to travel because they are out of their comfort zone? A mean girl always needs someone to pick on, and travelers are often too savvy and cultured to care. How much can a mean girl get out of a trip abroad? If she chooses to travel with her other click-sisters then she has essentially just relocated her social environment to a different physical destination.
My suggestion for these girls would be to check into a hostel and experience a new form of socializing. In my years of travel, I’ve never met more open, engaging and genuinely fascinating people than I have in various hostels around the world. Unlike the high school lunch room where loners are labelled as outcasts, it’s quite a different story in the backpacking community, which might just be the perfect cure for any mean girl.