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Bad Tripping: What to do When Your Travel Buddy Stinks

Feel like you’re being followed through the world by a fog of funk? How to get a stinking travel companion to pick up the underused reins of personal hygiene before it destroys you both.

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BAD TRIPPING: Wayward Travel Advice for the Anxious and Burdened

The Fog of Funk: My travel buddy is a stinker

Dear Bad Mike,

I am backpacking through Asia with a friend I know from college. On our tight budgets we have to share rooms and sometimes the same bed when we cannot find a room with two single beds. The problem is that Jim does not bath very often and his body odor is getting to be a real problem. How do I tell him that he smells bad and not cause a scene? I am really getting fed up with the situation.

Dear Stunked Up,

A malodorous travel buddy can really stink up a trip. Most stinkers are unaware that their lack of a daily sudsing is a problem for those held prisoner within the realm of their funk.

Sure, there are those times of hard travel, enduring the rigors of a multi-day bus ride, when a good washing up is impossible. At a minimum, a splash on the face and arm pits can be quite invigorating. Degreasing the undercarriage is a bit problematic on a crowded bus but there are always rest stops where a small bucket or hose can be utilized local style.

Perhaps a more detailed accounting is required: in a toilet stall, the bushes, or behind a wall, even in a wind blown and sere desert scape one can join the crowd behind the bus, drop your skid marked drawers and treat your sour ass to an enervating scrub. Just don’t get caught up in an impromptu bout of freaky auto-ecstasy. You, the curious foreigner, are being observed.

But let’s face the gaping maw of the truth for a moment: some folks love funk. Some are even aroused by the musky remnants of days and weeks past. And who isn’t perked up by the sweet bouquet of fresh and salty beads glimmering tracings of carnal delights upon an arm pit or groin of a newly acquired lover. Alas, I digress; have really, really digressed and find myself tip toeing through a field of forbidden tulips. Excuse me for a moment while I panic.

The olfactory raping of delicate sinuses by the leaden ammonia fog of funk can also be a hostile response to perceived injustices and slights. Albeit this is more likely to be the purview of a disgruntled lover. I assume that Jim is not your lover and merely a travel buddy. Although … perhaps Jim secretly harbors … I will allow you a moment to panic.

There are health risks to the funky lifestyle in hot and humid climes. Staphylococcus, ever present on even the most assiduously scrubbed flesh, parties hardier than a pervert at a summer camp for licentious nymphettes who have lost their panties while traipsing through sylvan glades of golden—sigh—sorry, I digress. Again. —when allowed to run amok upon the mucid tracts of a stinker.

Should the staphylococcus worm its way into a hair follicle, usually on the legs, trouble will soon rear its cruddy little head. A boil will pop up and being human the entertaining temptation to squeeze and squirt out the yellow pus will be irresistible. Alas, when you squirt you also inject the staphylococcus deep into your lymphatic system giving birth to other scrofulous boils.

Things now get very serious. Very serious indeed for Stinker, who will soon tilt toward septic shock. Ho, ho, off to hospital, Stinker must go! And quickly. Very quickly. A leg or two may be amputated and if the staphylococcus crawls into the brain, heart or lungs, like a pervert crashing a Saturday night sorority pajama(less) party … sigh … it is toodle-doo to Stinker.

A decision must be made: if a heart to heart, mano a mano, chat does not convince Stinker to clean up his act then a parting of the ways is to be considered. Sure, your budget will take a beating. Bad Mike’s heartfelt and sage advice is to find yourself a Spanish girl. They’re easy. And as an added convenience a Spanish delight will dump you the moment they have sated their sordid wants, saving you the bother.

Got a problem? Ask Bad Mike at badmike@vagabondjourney.com

Bad Tripping is a Q and A series on Vagabond Journey that covers the less discussed — though often ubiquitous — aspects of world travel. Please send questions, love letters, beer money, and threats to Bad Mike at the above address. Or just read the Bad Tripping archives or subscribe to the series by RSS


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Filed under: Bad Tripping, Travel Tips

About the Author:

I like the velocity of travel — it is the constant motion, like the flitting movement of a loaded brush over canvas, where a rhythm develops and is occasionally syncopated by thwarted plans or minor disaster. It is a way of living and an exploration of the outer world and my inner landscape. There are dangers in such a way of living. Rarely are there external dangers; what is to be feared is the habit of exchanging nullity for nullity, drifting from visa to visa until either the money runs out or the earth simply swallows you. Painting and writing is the binder that holds my center together while also compelling me onward. To what end I do not know … these are voyages of discovery. The destination, if there is one, will manifest itself at some point.

has written 28 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
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