Not long ago I looked at my newsfeed and noticed it was filled with young people partying at far-flung locations around the globe. Topless blokes covered in body paint danced with girls in bikinis grasping buckets of cheap cocktails.
Looking at the pictures, as jealous as I was not to be partying on a tropical beach somewhere, it occurred to me that although there is nothing wrong with this kind of travel, it isn't the type of traveller that I am -- and I have no problem with that.
I know the exact moment I came to this conclusion. I was on a boat travelling from the island of Ko Tao to Ko Samui, Thailand. I had decided to relax there for a few days before heading over to the party island of Ko Pha Ngan for one of the famous Full Moon parties that draw thousands of young party travellers each year.
The visit to Ko Tao was only supposed to take a few days -- we stayed for a week.
It's a hard lifestyle to want to leave; beachside breakfasts, fresh seafood dinners and cocktails on the beach in a picturesque setting. So we decided to give the Full Moon Party a miss. Whether that was a decision we would live to regret is hard to say. Regardless, I do not regret my time on Ko Tao.
To miss a day sightseeing or an adventure because I was laid up in bed, hungover is an incredibly deflating feeling.
When it came time for us to leave, we had to catch a ferry back to Ko Samui. On the way we pulled into the dock at Ko Pha Ngan to pick up more passengers. It resembled something more like a scene from a disaster movie than a ferry terminal.
Bodies were strewn around like wounded soldiers, some with face paint still behind their ears from the night before. The ones still standing looked defeated. It was as though they were all caught in a fog of both regret and elation and weren't sure which emotion was more dominant. The kind of feeling you get after a night on the booze where you hope you had a good time but weren't confident that was what actually took place.
A young girl was loaded onto the ferry looking more worse for wear than the others, an impressive feat in itself considering how everyone else looked like extras from an episode of 'The Walking Dead'. A saline drip was attached to her arm as two Thai locals helped her to her seat.
This was the exact moment when I thought, how much is too much?
I can imagine the conversation she would have with friends when she got back home...
"How was the Full Moon Party?"
"Oh good. You know. Face paint, buckets of alcohol, I needed a drip the next day. I really gave it 110 percent."
Maybe it's a badge of honour these days, but generally speaking, any kind of medical treatment to help recover from over indulgence is usually seen as something a person attempts to avoid when having a good time.
Or maybe, I'm just old.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good time. I suffer more prominently from a fear of missing out. When overseas, you have a limited amount of time to spend visiting places you might not get a chance to ever see again. That should resonate heavily with most people. That's not to say I don't enjoy these types of experiences -- I think everyone should try them -- I just don't base my travel around them.
There are roughly two types of travellers, those who like to party and those who do not. While this seems like (and is) a gross generalisation, it is not all that far from the truth.
I'm not talking about comparing young people to old people -- age is irrelevant. I've met many older individuals who enjoy a drink while on holiday and I know just as many young people who don't travel just to party.
Some people like to live it up and others like to explore. As easy as it is to say you can do both, I just prefer not to feel queasy whilst doing the latter as a result of the former. To miss a day sightseeing or an adventure because I was laid up in bed, hungover is an incredibly deflating feeling.
I'm not saying you shouldn't live it up overseas nor am I begrudging people who do so. I get it. I'm just wary that there is too much on offer around the world to place too much emphasis on how much you can drink as opposed to how much you can see.
Partying should be a by-product of your travel, not the reason. Regret is a bitter pill to swallow.