Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

How not to write home

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on November 6, 2006

As an ex-gapper/someone who’s travelled about a bit, I’ve grown to understand the importance of writing a good email/blog home to keep the parents at bay, and the chocolate/newspapers coming.

I’m not sure my brother did, however, having completed a calamitous ’round-the-world’ expedition, the correspondence from which read like a cross between The Beach and a trashy Joan Collins novel.

Dearest Benjamin isn’t alone it would seem, according to today’s G2. “Panic not, mother” featured a collection of emails from backpackers getting into all sorts of scrapes, which are well worth a read. Here are some of my favourites..

Hey Mum and Dad, Don’t fret, cos I am still alive, and you always said that was the main thing. I should probably mention that I am not pregnant. I am also not yet a heroin/coke/ ecstasy/morphine addict. I have definitely “found myself” and also made a huge difference to the village where I am staying. I have lots of good intentions, like building wells and libraries. I have given up smoking. I have started writing poetry. I have found God. I miss you and love you all so so so much and can’t wait to see you. Love Tasha.

Well, I got mugged again, trying to get across eight lines of traffic from Cinelandia to the Modern Art Museum in the pouring rain. He did have a knife, but he wasn’t particularly threatening, and he let me open my wallet and give him the notes, rather than taking everything, which would have been a pain. It’s OK. I’m used to it now.

The local culture in Auckland is “kandi”. It’s a drug that is very similar to ecstasy, with one major exception – it’s completely legal. I figured that as they were legal they couldn’t be that strong, so I ignored the warning not to exceed four pills per week and took 12 in one night . . .

The accommodation is OK. Well, it’s interesting, a bit sticky on the floor and a few cockroaches but it’s OK. I’m staying in a little place about 40 minutes from Sydney on the train. It’s a small town, loads of crime, drugs etc, etc, a bit like Stoke – only less pottery.

Dad, you keep complaining about my spending but the longer you fail to get this problem sorted out, the more money will get spent. Beijing is an expensive place to piss about going to banks all day, plus its 39 degrees outside, which makes me annoyed the minute I step out of the hotel. Seriously, I don’t know how much longer I can last . . . I’m fucking fed up with this, stop sending me sarcastic emails and telling me “it doesn’t add up”. I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. Just go down to HSBC and don’t leave until you’re convinced that something has taken place which will enable me to come home . . . I don’t care if you have to use all your savings to pay off my overdraft, or if you have to sell your car, PLEASE JUST GET ME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  1. James said, on November 8, 2006 at 12:34 am

    Yeh, I can’t believe that actually have that ‘kandi’ stuff for sale here. It does seem a bit ridiculous. I do have to be a little careful writing in my exchange year blog now after being told most of my extended family have been known to want to read it…


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