It is always strange to find out that you are not, in fact, unique. This happened to me my sophomore year of college, when I stumbled across a book on paganism—I read the first few chapters and was floored. This was what I was—these were my beliefs about spirituality and the world. I suddenly realized that other people felt the same way–and they had for thousands of years. And all that time I thought I was so un-define-able. So unique. Yeah–not so much. This same thing happened to me yesterday whilst researching netbooks–I came across a new word that neither Word nor Pages nor WordPress yet recognizes (though, to be fair, WordPress does not recognize the word WordPress. What is up with that?) That word–Flashpacking.
Invariably, when I tell a friend or relative about our trip, they say ‘so, you’re backpacking?’ and look at me doubtfully (because really, the idea of that is laughable). I’ve tried to explain that no, I’m NOT backpacking, though I am taking a backpack and trying to spend as little as possible whilst still being moderately comfortable and safe. What I didn’t know during any of those conversations was that I had a perfectly good (and perfectly pretentious) term for what I am going to be doing–I am going to be Flashpacking.
The technical description of a flashpacker seems to have two parts–one, you have to take ‘a lot’ of tech-y gadgets with you. Note–the definition of ‘a lot’ equates to no more than I already carry around with me in my purse every day (an iPhone, an eReader, and a digital camera) so check to that requirement. And two–you have to have ‘more disposable income than a backpacker’. I certainly wouldn’t say that I have lots of extra money–or any, really, but I have been saving up and we are planning on charging about 1/4 of the trip to our credit card. Though to be fair, I don’t know what the budget of your run-of-the-mill backpacker is–in my mind, most backpackers are bankrolled by their rich mommies and daddies, so they technically should have WAY more disposable income than two teachers traveling during summer vacation, but I am basing this on a stereotype alone and may be very, very wrong.
So. I’m a flashpacker. And a pagan. Holy crap I’m a flashpacking pagan. Now if that doesn’t sound pretentious, I don’t know what does! I think that despite the negative connotation and the mental image of shorts-and-sneaker-wearing fat-pale-middle aged Americans it evokes, I’d much rather be ‘just a tourist’!