Remember the 90s?
Ok. So the 90s may not have been the most chic time for fashion, music or haircuts.
There was, however, one tribe that oozed so much coolness, they’ve left an entire generation trying to match their achievements…
In the time before the Gap Yah, the blog, Facebook and Twitter, travelling was a lot more mysterious, a lot less accessible and generally required a lot more hard work. Here are eight reasons why your travelling forefathers score higher on the coolness scale than your big trip ever could…
1. They could disappear
Smartphones? Not a thing in the 90s. Neither was the internet (well, it was around but nobody really cared). When you were gone, you were MIA for however long it took you to find a payphone and enough cash to use it. Which was not very often because 90s backpackers were just as broke we are.
21st century nomads are never off the radar for very long. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, our loved ones (and anyone who happens to be bored that day) can follow us on our travels through our blogs, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed.
2. They didn’t take selfies
If you only had space for 35 photos, you wouldn’t waste that precious film pointing the camera at yourself. 90s backpackers were all about perfecting their craft behind the camera, rather than trying to get in front of it.
Nowadays it’s all about the selfie.
We are all guilty of doing it, but that doesn't make it cool.
3. They used more brainpower
Anyone can follow a blue dot on their GPS app. Back in the 90s, you didn’t leave home if you didn’t know how to read a map, use a compass, and be assertive when asking for directions. This required some serious intellectual engagement.
Today, if we need something, we Google the postcode and tap it into our GPS.
4. They had more social courage
Discovering the coolest hostels, the craziest parties and the secret traveller hangouts could only be done by getting friendly with as many people as possible. This often meant approaching strangers who spoke a different language to you, or bonding with locals to get the juiciest information.
In 2014, there are handy things like the Hostelworld app to fill you in on the best places to stay. And Google can take care of most of the others. This is not an excuse to keep to yourself though...the next time you feel shy, just ask yourself 'what would 90s me do?'.
5. They had more muscle
For the legends of the 90s, carrying a backpack required a commendable fitness level. Along with 25 rolls of film, they had to lug around all their CDs, a Walkman, a pager, a camera, a guide book, paper print-outs of all the important documents, a fold out map, a phrase book…the list goes on.
When we go travelling, pretty much all of our electronic needs can be met via the smartphone or tablet. This makes carrying the backpack a whole different story. Don't agree? Could you manage lugging something like this around during a 6 month trek across South America?
Didn't think so.
6. They were better at planning
It was a lot more difficult to just wing it 20 years ago. Travelling usually involved meeting up with your buddies at least three times before you set off to get to know the destination, plan a route, make a mix tape and convince your parents not to worry. This whole ordeal got people excited, and travel buddies ended up bonding before they had even made it on to the road.
We now have the luxury of cheap airlines and last minute booking. Not to mention 3G and WiFi means you can do all your research on-the-go. Great for convenience, less great for the camaraderie that accompanies the planning process.
7. They were better at managing money
Back in the good old days, traveller’s cheques or hard cash were the main way to carry your money and you had to rely on your brain to calculate the exchange rate. 90s travellers didn't have the luxury of letting their debit cards take care of all the number-crunching and counting cash was the way to keep track of your finances. Now we all have an online bank account to keep track of our money for us, so our 21st centruy brains can focus on the spending...
8. They were more organised
Nowadays everything important is usually stored in your email inbox for safekeeping. Sadly they didn’t have email confirmations in the 90s. Travelling meant keeping all important documents in paper form and not losing them. Ever.
If you lost your booking confirmation, plane ticket, passport or visa there was only one thing you could do:
Don't agree? Let us know what you remember about 90s travel in the comments...
rick baldwin said