“The world is full of fools who never get it right”- Lightning Seeds.
Time and time again as a travel blogger it is disappointing to see so called fellow bloggers and tourists writing about a wacaday “off the Beaten track” place they visited. And then I click on the link to see places such as Belfast, Chisinau, Baku, Tashkent, Lome etc. No doubt all are cool cities and I loved my time touring them but none of them are off the Beaten track!!! None of them. You have missed the meaning of the phrase, mis-used the word and changed the English language forever, for the worse. The same has happened with the word “gay” (which means happy), “couple” (which means TWO and ONLY TWO) and the word “beautiful” (which means nothing anymore when idiots start saying “what a beautiful coffee, what a beautiful piece of paper”. I know my attempt to stop the mis-use of the phrase “off the beaten track/path” will fall on deaf ears, and for that reason I will invent my own phrase to call what was originally the meaning of “off the beaten track/path”.
Education time, truth hurts the fakes out there, but never hurts the honest ones. Here is what ” off the beaten track/path” actually means, the REAL English language definition, source – every correct dictionary ever:
not known or popular with many people, unfrequented, isolated, quiet, private, remote, out of the way, outlying, secluded, hidden, backwoods, in the back of beyond, in the middle of nowhere, in the hinterlands;
“Off the wheaten craic / bap” – Jonny Blair, 2018.
This new phrase means it. Remote. Obscure. Unknown. No airports. The place isn’t mentioned in tour guides, the place doesn’t have tour guides. Even locals may not even have known about it. That’s Blockbusters! That’s off the wheaten craic. Jurassic Park.
Whether you class yourself as a hitch hiker, a backpacker, a suitcaser, a daytripper, an overlander, a nomad, a whackpacker, a womad, a slashtagger or a vagabond, we are ALL tourists. In fact, the only place in life where we are not tourists is the maternity ward, room, hospital, place we were born. Once we leave the place we are born, we are perpetual tourists. I love being a tourist and I love walking and touring the world.
On my journeys through a worldic 950 settlements, I made it to a few obscure spots with no airports, and remote and so I class them as “off the wheaten craic” because I previously classed them as “off the beaten track” until the term was hijacked and ruined forever by travel bloggers. Check out these wacaday off the wheaten craic places.
“It’s 12 o’clock till midnight; there must be someone to blame” – Nick Jones.
No airport. No train station. No bus station. A village up a hill in the middle of Tasmania. But a place that I will never forget. This is truly off the wheaten craic!
It’s one of the only villages in Australia where alcohol is forbidden. This tiny village acting as some kind of rehab centres for the alkos, winos and druggies in a Tasmanian wilderness. It was here where I lived for about 5-6 weeks working everyday in remote and lonely broccoli farms to pay for my $5000 AUD trip to Antarctica.
“Under neon loneliness; motorcycle emptiness” – Manic Street Preachers.
2. Capital City, ROMKERHALL
Romkerhall is a country all on its own. On the way here I had to try and find buses that didn’t exist in towns I’d never heard of (Oker and Baz Harburg). I finally made it and was able to tour the Kingdom of Romkerhall. I got a visa, some souvenirs and even enjoyed a meal and a local beer in an off the wheaten craic place!
3. Wrythe, AUSTENASIA
Located in the English town of Carshalton, Austenasia is an Empire all of its own which is now 10 years independent from the United Kingdom, after seceding from Westminster in 2008. I went to meet the Emperor for a cup of tea and toured the sights of the country’s capital city – Wrythe.
4. Kokoszkowy, POLAND
Tiny Kokoszkowy is a village in Poland’s Kociewie region. Only two travel blogs have ever been written in English on it and it doesn’t have a hostel or a campsite yet, but it’s incredible! I walked here on a gorgeous spring day and was surprised. Gorgeous yellow fields, a traditional Polish village and a lovely 14th Century church.
5. Ballyhalbert, NORTHERN IRELAND
The Northern Irish seaside village of Ballyhalbert is certainly worthy of being off the wheaten craic. It doesn’t even have a pub and has Ireland’s furthest east tip – Burr Point (and its famous E monument).
Sunrise here is a dream on the tranquil beach. Try not to fall in love with Ballyhalbert.
6. Nimis, LADONIA
The Ladonian capital city of Nimis is all it whacked up to be. To get here, you must hike through a forest in the neighbouring country of Sweden! I went here with my friend Daniel, based in Angelholm. We got to Nimis and were totally amazed and inspired by the sculptures here.
7. Ma Wan (Park Island), HONG KONG
I spent a year living on Ma Wan island (2012-2013). In Hong Kong terms, it’s an island with a theme park, an old school Chinese town and fishing port and an island connected only by bus (which incurs a fee to enter unless you are an island resident!).
I never truly wrote about my time on Ma Wan – a magical part of my journey. At the time, I was growing my travel blog business and finishing off my teaching stint in the Kong before worlding it one more time. When I left one hot day in September 2013, I never returned to little Ma Wan.
“You’ll never change what’s been and gone” – Noel Gallagher.
Those are just 7, I could name 50 more (that’s the ‘HALF’ (century) I refer to) off the wheaten craic places from my whackpacking adventures.
So finally – use the term “off the beaten track” as you wish, but for me travel bloggers ruined it by using it wrongly, once you started included airport cities and well known spots, the phrase became useless. The term was meant for isolation and remoteness. Now with my new phrase “off the wheaten craic”, nobody can question or mis-use the term as it’s mine and if I see anyone mis-using it, I’ll quickly tell them!
I’m in Warszawa writing this – never ever call it off the wheaten craic! It’s ON the well beaten track!