10 Rules for traveling with Tim

Vagabond Tim

(replace Tim with your own name, unless it happens to be Tim)

There are many small rules we all impose on ourselves and others in ordinary life, these become magnified to an incredible degree when trapped together for a prolonged period of time. Anyone who has ever struggled to find a place to hide the body of a former loved one during a road trip because they wouldn’t stop singing show tunes can attest to a few things, firstly that dead weight is really heavy, and second that the most normal people can become intolerable without a few ground rules in place.
Below is a list of rules I have found to be essential when traveling with me.

1. ‘No’ is not an option – Have an alternative suggestion or just say Yes

If I suggest we go climb a mountain, one cannot simply decline. The price of declining a suggestion is an alternate suggestion, no exceptions. As an amendment to this rule, as I have been lawyered before, the alternative must be coherent and possible, suggesting Ice Cream, Cake, or Pie as an alternative activity to climbing a mountain is only valid a few times a day, specifically when at least one of those things is readily available.

2. Crime is Illegal – Don’t expect sympathy if you get shot

Most specifically this applies to the kind of crimes that result in actual punishment, in places where being shot is one of the potential consequences. If some country feels that wearing a hat is a capital offense then DON’T WEAR A HAT. If for some reason you get stopped at the airport carrying 35 Keys of uncut Nicaraguan black tar ‘Coffee’ then don’t expect me to miss my connecting flight waiting for you.

3. Baggage limits – Learn to live without your set of 12 hair straighteners

Like any good airline I impose semi-arbitrary and wholly unreasonable limits on the amount of baggage I allow.

I put a hard limit on open weeping for more than an hour unless you are bleeding, or for some horrible reason there is no longer readily available Ice Cream, Cake or Pie in which case I may join you.

For actual Luggage though, anything more than a 35L backpack is simply too much luggage. Get rid of some things. Exceptions will be made for enormous people who can actually carry 50L or more, but seriously if you can barely walk while carrying everything you own, you own too much stuff.

4. Don’t be unreasonably stupid – Key word ‘Unreasonably’

If you are three hours from the nearest medical assistance and decide that now is a good time to take up cliff diving, wild berry sampling, or wild animal wrestling you will probably die. There is a fair chance I will lie to your family and downplay the horrifically stupid way you died, but if they read my blog the truth will come out.

5. Be reasonably stupid – Key word ‘Reasonably’

Although this seems like it might violate Rule 4. There is a time and place for stupid activities. If all your valuables are safely stored in a vault at the hotel and you are in the company of locals who are planning to ingest hallucinogenic berries before cliff diving and shark wrestling then go for it, just make sure one of them goes first as that sounds like a setup to reduce the tourist population.

6. Gas, Ass, or Grass – Be useful

While not to be taken overly literally, Learn to do SOMETHING. Cook, drive, learn CPR, take up nude belly dancing, whatever flips your skirt. To many times I have realized, in the company of three or four people that not a damn one of them has any useful skills of any kind. Essentially no one likes Ticks, not just because they are gross, but because they are parasites. Don’t Be One.

7. Vegans will starve to death – Don’t be a food wuss.

I have been told dozens of times that this rule is unreasonable and cruel but I stand by it. Sometimes you cannot have your cruelty free caramel swirled soy caffè macchiato. At times like these you have two options 1. Shut up and drink the highly suspect black beverage that claims to be coffee or 2. Shut up and don’t drink it. If you choose some third option be forewarned that I cannot be held legally or morally responsible for my actions before or during my first coffee of the day.

8. Be adventurous – Don’t bag on locals for not speaking ‘Merican

There is always a temptation to point out to the locals that something they are doing is in fact a weird knock-off version of something from home and that they are in fact wrong. Don’t. Quite often it will turn out that there is a very good reason for their weird variant.

Additionally there will come a time when your Japanese friends suggest coed nude hot tubbing with their elderly relatives (Literally). Just go with it as the entire point of being somewhere other than home is that things are not as they are at home.

9. Read a book (or website as its probably easier) – I cannot be expected to tell you everything

Did you know leaving food on your plate indicates to the Japanese that the food was not good? Or that the opposite indicates to Indians that they did not give you enough? Well you should have. Those are the types of things that one should probably learn before going somewhere. Wikipedia may not be the greatest and most accurate source of information on all things but it is a damn sight better than just showing up completely unprepared. While certainly other travelers will do their best to make sure you know the worst social faux pas to avoid there is literally no way they can cover them all.

10. Pretend you are a toddler – Never miss a chance to piss

Sure you don’t have to go right at this moment, but it might be six hours and sixteen beers before you encounter another place to pee, just TRY.

If you don’t want to climb this you had better have a better option


Smuggling ‘Coffee’ can earn you a free multi year stay in a place like this

For example everything I own fits in this bag


He is not your friend, attempting to run up and pet him is Unreasonably stupid


This is a good example of Reasonably stupid, although you MIGHT die, at least you tried not to


Not what I meant by ‘Grass’ but if you are this cute you might get away with it

Sometimes you cannot have your caffè macchiato because your name is to close to mine and I drank it

This conversely was indeed worthy of being called food, and even eaten.

Sure in my opinion they are doing hotdogs wrong, but I can’t really explain it to a non English speaker


Do not pass up the opportunity, especially when the sign actually makes sense

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