Tips on the Road: Accountabili-buddy and Liabili-buddy
One of the absolute best parts of traveling is the people. They are everywhere, on the streets, in your hostel, at the sights your visiting, and in the bars you are drinking at. Especially when traveling alone it’s nice to make a friend you can share the experience with. Maybe you meet on the train going the same direction or even in the hostel you are staying at, you both speak English, always a plus, and now maybe you wanna get drinks, nothing wrong with that, is there?
Well, there are two kinds of friends you can make traveling, accountabili-buddies and liabili-buddies. I can’t claim the term accountabili-buddy, because I heard about it on a white water rafting trip on the New River in West Virginia. Basically, everyone in my raft had an accountabili-buddy. What that is, is a person, like a partner, that you keep your eye on and they keep their eye on you, so that if one of you were to fall out of the boat into the rapids the other could signal to the guide there was a man overboard, a pretty good system. For traveling I use the term accountabili-buddy in a similar vein, for when a friend goes metaphorically overboard. For instance if we are at a bar and my accountabili-buddy is passed out on the table I take the initiative and get him a cab and most times personally take him back to the hostel to keep him from getting robbed or molested. The idea is that when you go out, you want everyone in your group to function like an accountabili-buddy, watching each others backs like a finely tuned little drunken unit.
However, there is another term, a term I coined and it is the Liabili-buddy. It is the counterpart to the accountabili-buddy and though I haven’t even described it yet I bet you already have envisioned someone in your mind to fit the label. A liabili-buddy is someone without fail that always gets you into some sort of debacle or bullshit when you are out just trying to have a nice time. I’ve had Liabili-buddies, whom will remain nameless, that have initiated such acts as trying to drunkenly start fights with large groups of men in seedy locations of Korea, trying to by drugs from locals on main backpacker roads in China, or even gone to take mid-day pisses on the side of sacred temples in Thailand. These are the actions of the liabili-buddies.
The liability and the dangers of a liabili-buddy come from their association and close proximity to you. Maybe you are not trying to by drugs, but you don’t speak the language and you’re his friend, so the Korean Police take both your asses downtown. Maybe you didn’t start the fight, but when a Caucasian goes in against five Asians and you are the only other Caucasian prepare to get rumbled, because unfortunately for you your skin is wearing the same team jersey as your liabili-buddy.
Now this isn’t a tragedy, it’s a warning, simply know the people you are with. If you make new friends, scope them out a little, look for the red flags, and make informed decisions. If your new friend tells one too many stories about going to jail, you may have stumbled upon a liabili-buddy and it may be time to move along. On the other hand, if you meet a bloke that is on holiday after a stint of volunteer work in Africa or he just got done finding his spiritual side in Tibet those are the traits that sound like you may have found an accountabili-buddy and an all around interesting person to get a pint with. Knowledge is power my friends and we are all just looking for a good time, so grab your accountibili-buddy and have a drink on me.
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