An Idiot Abroad

Have you watched An Idiot Abroad? My darling Mummy ji loaned me a copy of the DVD and boy, am I glad she did. I am transfixed.

An Idiot Abroad

The bad travel angel on your shoulder is named Karl Pilkington

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here’s a 101: Comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send their hapless mate Karl Pilkington off to see the seven wonders of the world.

Karl is the very definition of a Hobbit; the kind of tourist that complains about things being, ‘not like at ‘ome’.

You’re meant to laugh at him as he roams the globe, moaning about toilet facilities, weird food and tummy upsets but the problem is I empathise with the poor sod.

When I am miserable abroad, I tend to keep my mouth clamped shut lest I be dubbed a whinger. What I love about Karl is that he says what I am guilty of thinking ie. Please God don’t make me eat that goat’s eyeball/scorpion-on-a-stick/tequila worm/foetus egg.

There is a stoic code of honour among travellers that we must ENJOY EVERYTHING IMMENSELY, from the squat toilets to the fetid hotels to the unimaginably horrible food because otherwise, we are culturally insensitive, racist bastards.

Karl is not a bad bloke. He never wanted to go to any of these places so he lacks the basic desire to explore that drives a lot of travel tolerance (ie I really want to see the Taj Mahal so I will put up with the 10 hour train ride). He is a wonderful illustration of how, no matter where you are, you bring yourself with you. Being in Petra, for example, isn’t going to turn you into Indiana Jones. You will still be Karl Pilkington from Middle Earth giving your wife Suzannah instructions on how to hook up the DVD player.

Have you seen it? What did you think?


2 Responses to “An Idiot Abroad”
  1. Lou-la says:

    Love it, Em – not Karl so much (though I will like him more now), your blog about him. You’re so right about the pressure to enjoy. Sometimes I catch myself not-enjoying a trip, often at the beginning before I’ve settled in and left my busy-head behind, and I have to remind myself: it’s life in another place, it’s not going to be fun all the time, and that’s ok!

  2. Doug Meyer says:

    Love your posts, Em. I am still traveling (and am in Africa again!), working on a temp job in Nairobi until June. I have not seen it yet, but will try to convince Netflix that my IP address here is ok to stream the movie to me. I don’t know if it can be done, but it might. I love goat’s eyes, btw. As long as they’re in the goat’s head and the goat is munching on his pasture, or whatever. There are a lot of goats around here.

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