When The Locals Act Like Assholes

We were camping on Tecolote, a beach that was literally a few miles long.

DSC_0619The beach was lovely no matter where you were on it – no part was really that much better than another. For the sake of some privacy – and also with a considerate nod to others who were camping (due to the amount of noise our offspring produce) – we camped on the far side of the beach, well away from anyone.


After dark, as we were starting to get ready for bed, a car came over the dunes and parked on the little ridge right next to us. I’m talking, RIGHT next to us, about 10 feet away. The lights were on, high-beaming directly into our little camper. The music thumped, the laughter was loud and it was obvious that some locals were in for a night of some intoxicating beach revelry.

All fine, right? I mean, it’s their beach, after all. What are we going to do, go on out, “oh, hi! We are boondocking on this here public beach of yours – love it, by the way! – and since we have three little kids, can you keep the noise down? Or better yet, how about you scoot over to some other part of this massive beach?”

 Hmm. Yeah.

We swallowed. I mean, what right did we have? We’re guests in this country. Besides, I didn’t want Mikey going on out after anyone has started drinking. Better not to mess with drunk folk, you know. So, we swallowed, pulled the shades down to dim the glare of their car lights coming in, kept the kids calm, read some Dr. Seuss and breathed deeply.

The next morning, we found beer bottles and cans in the sand along with plastic bags and other garbage. And I just kept wondering about it, you know, we try to not be asshole tourists, we try and leave spots better than we found them in. We try and do the right thing, always conscious of the fact that this isn’t our territory, we are guests in this country.

But it sucks when locals act like assholes.DSC_1022

Still – and this is the reason why I am posting this piece – it’s okay to remember that people really are people, you know?

It’s like the ‘Ebony and Ivory’ song, says ‘there are good and bad’.

Traveling is experiencing the new in the foreign. So much of how the experience unfolds depends on our attitude, I think, depends on what we ourselves are putting out there. If we are friendly and believe in the best, that is usually exactly what we’ll get.

Sometimes dumb or scary stuff just happens though. But it shouldn’t mean to take that out of context and turn it around and blanket it over a whole country or people, right? I mean, we wouldn’t do that for our own country, would we? So we shouldn’t do it to another.

Sometimes locals act like assholes.


Because sometimes people can be assholes.


**//the end


Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.


#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
A comprehensive collection of resources for new parents of children with Down syndrome - https://t.co/WfzGfpmWm6 - 2 days ago
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  • I’m pretty sure that could happen anywhere in the USA, in some form or another! I remember when I was a little kid traveling with my family, we once left a Motel 6 in Georgia, in the middle of the night, because there was too much partying going on around us. (Ironically my brother and I were sleeping right through it… it was my mother who was mostly disturbed by it!) So you are right to point out, don’t let a few people’s behavior ruin your image of an entire country!

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