We’re ripping up the travel script (and you should too)

Ping pong show, Mona Lisa, Rathaus-Glockenspiel

We’re going to Bangkok next week. And you know the one thing people keep telling us to do? “Ooh you MUST go to a ping pong show and watch all the girls make things fly out of their fu fus. The drinks there cost a bomb, but you’ve gotta do it.”

Errr, no. And not because of morals (although Wikipedia’s description does a good job of putting us off for those reasons too). We won’t go because it’s just not our sort of thing and we don’t care that all the guide books and other people say we should.

We’ve just been to Paris. Everyone said, “You MUST visit the Mona Lisa.” We didn’t. We’re not too into art, we really hate crowds, and we knew we’d rather wander around the Jardin Du Luxembourg or drink an obscenely overpriced coffee in a cafe where all the waiters are rude. Because that’s what we like doing.

We went to Munich once. And everyone told us to watch the 11am chiming of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Reluctantly, we did. Have you ever watched the chiming of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel? It looks and sounds like this. Now tell us – two people who aren’t that into crowds or novelty clocks – was it really worth leaving our cuddle with the hotel puppy early for the experience?

We don’t like this “peer pressure” aspect of travel – the idea that there’s a tourism script you must learn for every part of the world. Sure, it’s great to get ideas from friends, apps and travel guides. And yes it’s important to broaden your horizons and do things you wouldn’t normally do. But only up to a point.

As we always say to ourselves when we opt out of a celebrated museum in favour of a gentle stroll (or a nap), “We’re not here to write the fucking guidebook.” We’re not here to visit everything everyone tells us to, just so we won’t get embarrassed or feel uncultured when people ask if we’ve done x, y or z on our trip.

People, do us a favour: do what you want to do. Yes, take account of the tips and advice. Yes, try new things. But don’t wait in line all day at the Empire State Building if views aren’t your thing, and don’t eat currywurst if you don’t like sausages, or curry, or both.

The same goes for life and work. Screw what everyone else does or whatever they tell you to do. Don’t follow the “9-5” script or the “lifestyle business” script unless you really want to. Stop doing things by default just because everyone else is. Grow a pair, tear up the scripts and do you own damn thing!