Ethics of busking/flying signs in poorer countries while traveling

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#1
Hello everyone,

First of all I'm not really sure if that question has been raised before, if so I couldn't find the right thread.

So this is a very bad video from youtube, which is more or less the same as the one I saw, but which is on facebook and in french (so I can't really post it here)

Basically, people are pissed at white people going to other countries and busking/"begging" to "support their trip". Maybe the people doing that on the video don't really need it, etc, but that is not really the question I wanna ask

The thing is, what do you think of someone who's traveling with no or little money, and who stops on a corner to play some music, even if their country is way richer than the one he's in ?
What about people who would just sit and "beg" ?
What are the limits, according to you ? Can you just go busking wherever in like, very poor asian countries ?
 
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#2
Great questions really.
Being from one of the wealthier countries in the world, I've faced this question again and again. Because I don't save up for my trips, and usually I've just been asking people for food.

Once I got to Morocco though my thoughts changed, because as I was able to receive food, and even more people than anywhere in Europe just handing me money while hitchhiking, it just didn't feel right. So for third world countries where there might not be a great safety net, I've had my quells.

As to anywhere there's tourist I don't beg much of a difference, I'll ask restaurants for food. Ask people eating sandwiches/picnicking for food, fly a sign asking for money.. What I've done most often though is just to ask the locals for food and water when out in the rural areas.

I really didn't do much begging as a whole, but often didn't think twice before asking for food.
 
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#3
Seeing a westerner begging in poorer countries is fucked up to me. In a western country, (also thinking Japan/Singapore) I don't see a problem with it in some situations. Busking, in my opinion, i see no issue, more or less. This idea of backpacking/traveling the world is, for the VAST majority, only feasible for people who earn a living inwestern countries , where saving money is quite easy if you budget your earnings and spendings, and your currency goes a damn long way in the poorer regions. 99% of India, for example, could never afford to travel for months in North America/Europe/Oceania without a day of work, just living off savings. People from these western places have the luxury and opportunity to travel almost anywhere they please, if they have a certain level of self-discipline and motivation to do so.
I cannot respect someone who travels with no money or very little for extended periods with the intention of relying on the kindness of strangers everywhere they go, unless they are paying it back with putting an amount of free time to helping/sharing/positive things and not to solely further their adventure/selfish journey, or turn to nihilism/apathy.
 
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somn

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#4
I cannot respect someone who travels with no money or very little for extended periods with the intention of relying on the kindness of strangers everywhere they go, unless they are paying it back with putting an amount of free time to helping/sharing/positive things and not to solely further their adventure/selfish journey, or turn to nihilism/apathy. if that sounds too harsh, i apologize haha.
word!

living off peoples gifts and donations and justifying it because you think your lifestyle is more valuable than a conventional one is some christian monk bullshit.

begging is the lamest manifestation of nihilism. if you're a nihilist, why not just steal what you want and skip town? that way you don't have to loaf about hoping people feel sorry for you. and if you go to jail for stealing, then you will be housed and fed for free. and if nothing matters to you, isn't that all you need?
 
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#5
Met a German guy kind of doing this from Germany to Asia. He had a book, and inside it his story about traveling with no money in every language he expected to come across. Basically showed this to people when he was looking for free accomodation, trains/buses, and even supermarkets. I thought it was so odd, and could appreciate the IDEA of what he was doing, but mostly I just saw a guy using the kindness of strangers to help him with a project that was only benefiting him.

I'll accept things given to me, within reason, but if possible I want to exchange my help or something.
 
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#6
Yeah, I guess the main idea here is to offer something in return then. But yeah that kinda bothered me because I find it pretty useful to be able to busk when I'm traveling, and I know my father did it too when he traveled across the world, also in countries where the income is less important, but these were other times and traveling wasn't that common. But yeah what disturbed me the most in that video is people literally asking people "support our trip".
As I understand it, it means that even they don't consider they're offering anything in return, because otherwise they would consider they're doing something to support their trip theirselves. When I busk while traveling, I consider I'm doing an action to support my trip. I am supporting myself. Does that make sense ? I feel it's a bit of a messed up idea

I was having this discussion with friends that aren't traveling like people around here and are not really used to the idea, not having come across a lot of "hobos", and they were pretty virulent in saying that that was unacceptable. Then I asked what they thought about busking and they were like "yeah it's okay" but maybe the fact that I am busking and they know it changes what they would say. I wouldn't busk in really poor countries for example, but I mean if you have zero money, it remains zero money no matter where you are... So yeah, I feel like the boundaries are really thin
 

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#7
i see a LOT of travelers going about with the intention of just living off spanging, with no interest in working whatsoever. to me, this is morally wrong.

so i guess it mostly comes down to intent. did you save up money working for a few months to finance your trip? awesome. or did you go out with the intention of simply living off of those that are kind enough to give you money? the latter is pretty shitty, and honestly, about 90% of the travel culture in the usa is guilty of this right now.

it's rare that rich people will give you money, so in the majority of spanging situations, you're recieving money from people that sympathize with your situation, probably because it's not that far removed from their own, or they've been in that situation before. so basically, if you have no intention of working and instead spange to get by (especially for booze/non-essentials) then you are explicitly financing your 'adventures' off of the middle and poorer classes, which is a pretty shitty thing to do. not to mention that you are doing it under the false pretense of being desperate and poor (again, especially if you're spanging for booze/drugs/toys).

if someone feels differently, then by all means rebuttal me, because im writing about this in the StP book and could use the input.

as for busking, as long as it's culturally acceptable, i see no issue with it, since its an exchange and busking is a form of 'work'.

one last thing, while i do believe you should work to finance your travels, i think it's important to note that 'work' doesn't always mean getting a 'job'. if there's something you love doing (making jewelry for example) and you can make money doing it, great, good for you! jobs suck the life out of you in exchange for money (and usually for someone else's profit) so you should only do that if you feel like you'll come out better than you did before (i.e. worked shitty job but now have better gear to bum around in) and for as short a period of time as is realistic.
 
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#8
so i guess it mostly comes down to intent. did you save up money working for a few months to finance your trip? awesome. or did you go out with the intention of simply living off of those that are kind enough to give you money? the latter is pretty shitty, and honestly, about 90% of the travel culture in the usa is guilty of this right now.

it's rare that rich people will give you money, so in the majority of spanging situations, you're recieving money from people that sympathize with your situation, probably because it's not that far removed from their own, or they've been in that situation before. so basically, if you have no intention of working and instead spange to get by (especially for booze/non-essentials) then you are explicitly financing your 'adventures' off of the middle and poorer classes, which is a pretty shitty thing to do. not to mention that you are doing it under the false pretense of being desperate and poor (again, especially if you're spanging for booze/drugs/toys).

if someone feels differently, then by all means rebuttal me, because im writing about this in the StP book and could use the input.
Couldn't some of this be seen in the context of our partly deranged economic system, where there's an elitist society and a cultural dependency on consumerism to which we're subjugated and fixed into from birth?

It's not that I intent to rebut your views on who is actually giving money to beggars, that is correctly and well put. That statement derives the conclusion that it is morally wrong to enhance one's own situation by the means of the lesser privileged. Which again raises the question of intent because, does people who choose to travel like this actually consider who they're relying upon? I can't tell for the 90% of the travel culture in the US if they've even raised the question, but it is easy to think that somebody handing you $10 can essentially do without.

Honestly it's difficult for me to state an unpopular opinion, but to digress, money really sucks and being able to live without working for your own can really be a means of survival. Not saying that it should be cultural norm and a go-to for adventuring, but if somebody can't cope with society and make a buck to pay his or hers own travels and then choose to live an exciting life where they're happy by the means of the generosity of others there could be an intent of pursuing happiness or essentially escaping suicide or depression.

Hell I'm trying to excuse myself, because this is my intent.
 
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#9
Couldn't some of this be seen in the context of our partly deranged economic system, where there's an elitist society and a cultural dependency on consumerism to which we're subjugated and fixed into from birth?

It's not that I intent to rebut your views on who is actually giving money to beggars, that is correctly and well put. That statement derives the conclusion that it is morally wrong to enhance one's own situation by the means of the lesser privileged. Which again raises the question of intent because, does people who choose to travel like this actually consider who they're relying upon? I can't tell for the 90% of the travel culture in the US if they've even raised the question, but it is easy to think that somebody handing you $10 can essentially do without.

Honestly it's difficult for me to state an unpopular opinion, but to digress, money really sucks and being able to live without working for your own can really be a means of survival. Not saying that it should be cultural norm and a go-to for adventuring, but if somebody can't cope with society and make a buck to pay his or hers own travels and then choose to live an exciting life where they're happy by the means of the generosity of others there could be an intent of pursuing happiness or essentially escaping suicide or depression.

Hell I'm trying to excuse myself, because this is my intent.
In a system as fucked up as north america's, i can definitely see what your saying about people who can't cope with society or fund their travels, thus choosing to travel freely and to live off generosity of others. in this case, i believe being conscious of the hindu/indian ideas trust, dharma and karma would benefit. atleast being fully honest about your situation, doing what you can with the skills, knowledge, resources and energy you have to be generous and loving towards all, and to make a positive change with all the free time you have, thanks to kind, generous strangers supporting your survival/lifestyle. your intent and actions shine through and will either reward you or punish you in the future.
 

somn

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#10
.
 
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#11
Kinda like Matt said, I dont mind buskers and sellers anywhere in the world, as they are providing something in exchange. Ive always said that the only difference between a pop star and a busker is their venue and the money they make!

Beggars are something else, though.
But what most people dont realise, is that most people busking/begging do so in the main tourist hubs. Therefore taking money from rich tourists, not the locals.
 
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#12
But what most people dont realise, is that most people busking/begging do so in the main tourist hubs. Therefore taking money from rich tourists, not the locals.
I don't think this is valid justification when it comes to begging in a more ecomonically struggling country than your own, therefore relying on people who supported themselves to get to the same place as you to have them support you feels like a childish mentality in my opinion. people have the freedom to do what they want, however.
 
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#13
a lot of americans/europeans/1st world kids are spending more money in one day than what locals are making in one year...i certainly do NOT think it is okay to beg people for money in these situations. i've seen a similar article somewhere about this going on and it seems like most of the people doing it are gap year college kids.
 
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#14
I don't think this is valid justification when it comes to begging in a more ecomonically struggling country than your own, therefore relying on people who supported themselves to get to the same place as you to have them support you feels like a childish mentality in my opinion. people have the freedom to do what they want, however.
Like I said, I don't agree with begging. And I'd be ambivalent with busking to people who have nothing, but busking to tourist, wherever it might be, is totally fine to me.
 
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#15
Begging in a country poorer than your own is quite entitled unless you are truly up shit creek without a paddle and are only doing so in order to get a ticket back home.

I read about one German professional spanger who went to countries like this and would raise money for drugs, prostitutes, and other luxuries. Opportunistic in the worst sense.

If you have the foresight to save up for a ticket and to get your passport, why not also have the foresight to find remote work, or to save up enough for the necessities of your trip?
 
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#16
I think as much as we don't want to admit it, we have to make money for ourselves in order to survive. In my opinion, living off stealing and begging is wrong, and not a lifestyle that really brings any positivity into the world. I think working seasonal jobs, busking, selling goods, etc. are all good moral ways to finance your travels. I believe that pretty much everyone that lives this lifestyle is doing it by choice, so purposely choosing not to work for your money and ask other people to give you theirs is immoral and something we, as travelers, should try to avoid if we can.
 

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#17
I ll add an unpopular opinion! People have very strong opinions and very high morals when it comes to judging others. What you would do in a similar situation? I would suggest looking at it once you there. Fuck the morals, to say it simple. Once you are in South Asia with no money left and no place to sleep, do whatever you gotta do to survive. Is Begging for money better then stealing or stealing then killing for it, or selling your body for It? I would choose something of a less harm to myself or others. But won't judge what you choose
 
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#18
Well, if you really don't hav any money left and are completely clueless you can always call your ambassy, they will find you a plane etc
 

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#19
Well, if you really don't hav any money left and are completely clueless you can always call your ambassy, they will find you a plane etc
Haha yeah if you are American. You guys can always call your embassy and it will take good care of you. I'm ubber jealous
 
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#20
Well, if you really don't hav any money left and are completely clueless you can always call your ambassy, they will find you a plane etc
Haha, I actually did this once on the danish ambassey in Paris - they phoned my bank to find out I had a bit of funds and the ambassey paid me with what I had back at home. Dunno what they'd do if I had no money. Ofcourse they did hand me 5 euros to grab some breakfast cause they found me sleeping right on their doorstep:)
 

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