Hey guys, it’s me, the beaten path. Since you’re all taking a break from traveling right now, I figured we could have a little heart-to-heart about how your behavior has made me feel.

Getting walked all over is one thing. But being abandoned is what hurts me most of all.

I’m apparently so anathema that I’ve inspired a wildly successful guidebook on to how best to leave me. Do you have any idea what it does to someone’s self-esteem to learn that a sizeable portion of the population would prefer to traverse a Lonely Planet than take me to Tulum for spring break?

If anyone should be bailing on this arrangement, it’s me. I’m the one who got stampeded within an inch of my life by you on your way to Century 21 from the 9/11 Museum. And speaking of never forgetting, I suppose you don’t remember the trip to Amsterdam, where you drank a weed milkshake on your rental bike as you flattened me on your way to the Ann Frank House. You certainly didn’t seem to mind being on your good old beaten path then.

But fine, delete your profile picture of our selfie in front of the Taj Mahal. It’s good to know all my suffering to keep you happy has amounted to absolutely nothing. You probably have no idea what your Ayahuasca Segway journey through the ruins of Machu Pichu cost me. While you were “finding yourself,” I found MYSELF covered in your vomit. There are still holes in me from when the scooters spontaneously combusted. Not to mention the double-decker bus tour you took of the Eiffel Tower, burnt husk of Notre-Dame, and the library where Emmanuel Macron first got to second base with his high school teacher. I still have to wear turtlenecks to cover the tire burn I got from that!

Sigh. It’s the same clichéd story over and over again. At first, you all can’t get enough of me. You even invite me to meet your weird cousins on your dad’s side at the Hard Rock Café in Prague. But it’s only a matter of time before you realize how many other people have been on me, and then you’re horrified. So you leave me to go in search of some Hidden Gem. It makes me sick to think about you lot ecstatically “wandering” (not traveling, oh no, you’re much too good for that now) your so-called uncharted paths, laughing together at how low your standards were when you thought honeymooning with me in Bali was the apogee of your adventures.

But whatever, I’ll be having WAY more fun getting smeared with king cake and shards of Mardi Gras beads by my thousands of new acolytes, definitely NOT thinking about you! And you guys can just throw away all the gifts from me, since you clearly won’t be needing those Statue of Liberty snow globes, hand-blown Venetian glass masks, or Burning Man captain steam punk hats anymore.

A word to the wise, though: getting off the beaten path has become pretty commonplace. So commonplace, in fact, that if you try to ditch me you may very well find yourself right back on me. Did you really think you were the only one who read that Travel & Leisure article about how to explore Slovenia like a local? Or that you were the first to book an Airbnb experience in a treehouse in the Costa Rican rainforest? You’ll recall that sultry voice on the other end of the phone, in the secret phone booth at the back of Crif Dogs in the East Village that lets you into a speakeasy through a secret doorway. Yup, that was yours truly.

Wherever you go, there I am. Karma’s a bitch when you’re basic like that.


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