Alternative Travel

2017 June 30

Our exams are over and the term is done, so what to do with our ridiculously long summers?  Some of us may have internships, many of us will work, others may just laze around (I mean why not, we won’t get holidays as long as this until we retire – the way this government is going we will be too old even to enjoy it.)  The more intrepid and brave amongst us may do a spot of travelling; here are a few suggestions for your consideration…


You’ve not seen England until you have seen Blackpool in Lancashire.  This place takes the Great out of Great Britain and leaves instead a soggy verruca plaster floating in its sea. Blackpool used to be able to boast such wonders as having gas lighting in 1852 and once being the home of TVR (..until someone from Russia thought that the town was too basic and moved it).  If this doesn’t entice you then maybe you’ll be drawn by such facts as its status as the 11th worst place to live in the country (or double first for the optimistic) and that it has some of the highest STI rates and teenage pregnancies in Europe! A desirable combination.

So what if anything would make you want to go to Blackpool for a cheap and cheerful holiday? Hospital stays due to alcohol are double the national average so you can afford to save on a hotel, as the STI and pregnancy facts show you will most definitely have something to remember the weekend by and you get to see donkeys in nappies (except on Fridays where they have a day off).  If all else fails, there is the self-gratification that you’re not one of the toothless ice cream-munchers that inhabit the place. If you do it right, you won’t remember anything and just end up with some amusing photographs, a doctors appointment and a stick of fractured tasteless rock ..what a weekend!


If Blackpool isn’t quite exotic enough for you, then why not try Phuket in Thailand – or as it is more commonly referred to by the Great British public “Fuk It”. This lively beach resort has all the bars and clubs of somewhere like Magaluf with all the exotic enticements of Thailand and the east.  If someone asks you where are you going on holiday you can reply, with no word of a lie, “Thailand” – which I’m sure you will agree sounds much more exotic than Benidorm – and that you are going to sample all the foods and culture that the area has to offer.  They don’t need to know you’re going to get wasted on cheap beer and curry while chatting up Thai shemales in your very best slurred, loud, overly gestured English.

There are also opportunities to expand your travel, by taking a trip to Bangkok, referred to by the Immature British public as “Bang Cock”, which is just a stone’s throw away. There is even an opportunity to expand your qualifications. In Bangkok you can get certified with not having gonorrhoea – an invaluable and multipurpose piece of accreditation for future employers, girlfriends and letting agents.


Want to use your degree? I am reliably informed that a degree is most definitely required to make sense of the Thomas Cook European rail time table.  With a smile on your face, a bag on your back, the ragged remains of your loan changed into euros and sealed in a plastic wallet, you can set off to explore all that Europe has to offer.  I was once told that the best way to explore somewhere is to get lost in it – when the platform change is announced in various different languages, or you can’t read where you want to be as the alphabet has changed, this is a definite possibility.  You will no doubt have the expected fun of slumming it in the big cities sharing with fifteen dubious looking Belgians in a hostel and every now and again referring to the film.  For the rest of the trip you can enjoy what is essentially one long commute.  Standing on trains in the sweaty humidity of others, frantically running to new platforms, dealing with people who want nothing more than to see you miss your transport, and just doing for several months what you will spend the rest of your life avoiding.


Fancy something new or off the wall? Why not join the world’s smartest business idea, volunteer tourism?  You pay your money to go somewhere to work for free, live in poor conditions, get malaria, befriend bugs, eat poor quality food, sleep with rats, dump in the woods, miss Facebook and generally be part of the poverty-stricken world that millions spend their lives working to escape from. When you eventually leave with a new-found appreciation for your previous life, embalmed with a sense of self-satisfaction, you can be safe in the knowledge that there are some plants or animals or endangered peace bats that will remember your contribution.  That you have experienced another culture and successfully rubbed your rich Western life in the face of those who will never possess it, and that you have paid for an experience more than they will earn in a lifetime… but, you gave something back right?

Jack Carnell