I have just been exposed to a new concept, traveling BegPackers. Apparently on the streets of some of the poorest countries in the world, there are young, mostly Caucasian backpackers looking to finance their onward travels by begging in the streets. What is going on? Is this a savvy way to travel the world? Or is this a whole new level of white privilege or entitlement? Should they? Many BegPackers claim they don’t want to conform to societal norms by getting a job and saving up for future travel, when they can just go now and beg for funds along the way. There will always be extenuating circumstances, and I know these first hand. I backpacked as a youngster and was robbed in Panama of everything I owned, forcing me to beg for money from locals until I could find my way to a consulate. What I learned from that experience is there are endless kind people willing to give you their shirt off their backs to help. I’ve paid that debt forward ever since. But are BegPackers taking advantage of that kind of humanity? Do you think BegPacking is a travel trend for the future generations?
Hi Andrea. This is not new. When I was travelling through Central and South East Asia in the late '60s/early '70s I frequently came across European kids begging because they had run out of money. For some reason, which I don't understand even now, they were mostly French.
As a Moderator for NEW bloggers, I have noticed a recent spate of requests asking for people to crowd-fund the person's travels. They go straight to SUSPECT hell, never to be seen on TB again.
In response to: Msg #207792
Hi John & Sylvia! Well, new to me I guess. I can maybe understand running out of money and being desperate, but to beg just to keep on traveling? That’s where I’m a bit baffled. And now crowd funding! Wow, that is a whole new level! BegPacking. I just find it fascinating.
BegPackers are beggars, plain and simple. And to take advantage of the kind people in the poorest countries is doubly reprehensible. As John says above, this is not a new trend. I lived in SE Asia in the 1960s and they were there then. Normally their visas would run out and they would be deported. I learned then never to fly on the cheapest airline as those were the flights full of BegPackers. Many countries have tried to limit BegPackers by requiring visa applicants to have sufficient funds for their stay. I'm pleased that you paid forward the kindness you received after you were robbed.
I was shocked to see them in Laos, which is a poor country. I don't think they realize how unfair it is for locals who will make less in one year what they would earn in one month working an entry level job in their country. Maybe they don't realize that there are indigent people there who actually need help and that they are competing with them for alms. As someone from a developing country who worked hard to save up just to be able to afford international travel, this is very upsetting.