The Credo1. I shall eschew the ways of the tourist and have an authentic Asian experience rather than a shallow, contrived, package holiday. I am Traveler. 2. I shall wear the largest possible backpack to bear proud witness of my creed. 3. I will spend my travels on the quest for Our Holy Grail - for the ‘Unspoiled Place’ - a place undiscovered by tourists, where happy, welcoming, generous natives tend vast fields of ganja along a deserted, previously unknown tropical beach, and that has Internet access. 4. I shall begin my quest on Khao San Road. 5. I shall not leave Khao San Road without a Lonely Planet guide. 6. I shall never admit to using a Lonely Planet guide. 7. I shall follow ‘Wheeler’s Way’, a mystical school of thought, which both eschews and embraces Khao San Road – a way of finding the Unspoiled Place without ever leaving the path. (Editors note: ‘Wheeler’s Way’ is a school of thought posited as a possible answer to the decades old conundrum known as the ‘Sang Thip Paradox’: If it is in Lonely Planet then I can find it, but it won’t be the Unspoiled Place. If it is not in Lonely Planet, it might be the Unspoiled Place, but I won’t be able to find it.) 8. I shall wear the traditional international backpacker’s uniform and don at least one piece of local clothing (conical hat, krama, yam, etc.) to show my oneness with the Asian people. 9. I shall not clean the local soils and aromas from my uniform for I wish to always carry a piece of where I have been. 10. I shall never wear a souvenir tee shirt in the tee-shirt’s country of origin. 1 1. I shall eat banana pancakes on a regular basis, for it is the quintessential Asian food. 12. I shall eat in the cheapest restaurants. Hygiene is for package tourists. 13. I shall travel by the least comfortable means, for comfort is also for package tourists. 14. I shall drink the local beer, for I shall always endeavor to be in tune with the local culture. And because it is the cheapest. 15. I shall stay in the cheapest guesthouse. More money for beer. 16. I shall not allocate more that 75% of my daily budget to alcohol and drugs. Moderation in all things. 17. I shall make a pilgrimage to a Full Moon Party at Had Rin Beach Koh Phangan at least once in my life. For it is Mecca. 18. I shall revel in food and mosquito-borne diseases, for these are the badges of the true Asian Traveler. 19. I shall not leave Thailand without having my hair colored, dreaded, corn-rolled or shaved off. 20. I shall model my travels on “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac 21. I shall read “The Beach” before entering Thailand so that I understand the goal of quest. 22. I shall read “Off the Rails in Phnom Penh” before entering Cambodia so that I understand the dangers of the quest. 23. I shall read “The Quite American” while travelling through Vietnam because everybody else is. 24. And this above all: I shall bargain without mercy and hone my skills to a sharp edge, so that I can proudly proclaim our sacred motto: “I get it for less than the locals” The Mantra In times of trial and doubt – as I lose all feeling in my legs in the 14th hour of a local bus ride…when I can’t sleep for the noise of a thousand rats scurrying through my $2 room…as vomit and diarrhea spew simultaneously from my salmonella saturated body – I will repeat this mantra unto myself… I am not a tourist I am not a tourist I am not a tourist I am not a tourist I am not a tourist I am not a tourist …until the doubt passes and I am ready for more authentic Asian experiences.